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How to watch the Tokyo Olympics

You won’t want to miss this year’s highly anticipated and long-delayed Olympic Games

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The Olympic rings displayed at Haneda International Airport in Tokyo.

People pose for photo with the Olympic rings display at Haneda International Airport in Tokyo, Thursday, July 8, 2021.

Koji Sasahara, Associated Press

Let the games (finally) begin!

After a yearlong delay and ongoing logistical complications, the postponed 2020 Tokyo Olympics are about to begin this Friday. With Tokyo banning all spectators, watching by cable or streaming online will be the only way to see the Olympic action unfold.

  • Here’s everything you need to know to catch your favorite Olympic events.

How to watch or stream the Olympics

For maximum Olympic content, your local NBC station should be your go-to watch place, said Bustle.

For those who have cut the cord on cable TV, NBC will air Olympic events across three other platforms: Peacock, NBC Sports and NBC’s Olympics website.

  • Peacock is NBC’s connected streaming service. Most Olympic coverage will be free to watch on the platform with any account, according to its website. Peacock offers a 7-day free trial then costs $4.99 per month for a Premium account that has access to all content.
  • All Olympic coverage will be free to watch on Peacock, except for men’s basketball, reported Yahoo Sports.

When are the Tokyo Olympics?

The Tokyo Olympics will take place from Friday, July 23, to Sunday, Aug. 8, in Tokyo, Japan, reported Deseret News.

When planning to watch the Olympics, it’s important to keep the time change in mind. Tokyo is 13 hours ahead of Eastern time — or 15 hours ahead of Mountain time.

  • Evening events in Tokyo will take place in the morning for the U.S., reported Bustle.
  • Morning events in Tokyo will take place the evening of the day before for those watching from the U.S.

To accommodate the time change, NBC and Peacock have a lineup of daily recap shows to help you catch up and keep up on the latest action, reports NBC:

  • From 4 a.m. MT to 9 a.m. MT, “Tokyo LIVE” will recap “overnight” developments and show live marquee events.
  • From 9 a.m. MT to 5 p.m. MT, “Tokyo Gold” will show highlights from the last day and previews for upcoming events.
  • From 5 p.m. MT to 5:30 p.m. MT, the special segment, “On Her Turf,” will showcase strong, powerful women of Team USA.
  • From 5:30 p.m. MT to 10 p.m. MT, “Tokyo Tonight” will use a live studio show to discuss highlights from the Games.

How and when to watch the Olympics opening ceremony

The opening ceremony will air (and live stream!) on NBC on Friday, July 23, beginning at 5 a.m. MT. The closing ceremony will air at the same early-morning time on Sunday, Aug. 8, per Yahoo Sports.

  • The opening ceremony will also be rebroadcast 12 hours later during prime time, starting at 5:30 p.m. MT, reported Yahoo Sports.

Watch times and platforms for other highly anticipated events include, per Bustle:

  • Basketball: July 24 to Aug. 8 on CNBC, NBC Sports, NBC Olympics and Peacock.
  • Gymnastics: July 23 to Aug. 3 on NBC Sports, NBC Olympics and Peacock.
  • Swimming: July 24 to Aug. 4 on NBC Sports, NBC Olympics and Peacock for highlights.
  • Track and field: July 30 to Aug. 7 on NBC Sports, NBC Olympics and Peacock.
  • NBC has also announced the full viewing schedule with further details.

For fans in the U.S., watching the Olympics in real-time will require early morning wake-ups, but the opportunity to see history being made is worth setting your alarm a little bit early.