With just seven days to go until the Opening Ceremony on 23 July 2021, here are the things to know about Tokyo 2020 as Japan prepares to welcome the world's best athletes for 17 days of competition

There is just one week to go until the curtain is lifted on the highly anticipated Games of the XXXII Olympiad.

Running from 23 July to 8 August 2021, the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 will see medals awarded in 339 events across 33 sports encompassing 46 disciplines.

Postponed for a year to 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Tokyo 2020 will be the second time the city has hosted the Olympic Games after it staged the event in 1964.

Here's a guide to what to expect from the Olympic Games in 2021, including the new medal events.

What happens this week in Japan?
Athlete selections have been made and teams are busy arriving across the country, preparing to take part in the 33 sports of the Olympic Games including artistic gymnastics, athletics, swimming and basketball.

Although the Opening Ceremony signifies the start of the Games on 23 July 2021, the action actually gets underway two days earlier on 21 July, with Australia facing hosts Japan in the softball (from 09:00 JST in Fukushima), and Great Britain against Chile in the women's football at the Sapporo Dome from 16:30 JST.

Where can I find a schedule of Tokyo 2020?
Throughout the Games, you can find information on the entire Olympic schedule, results, explore the list of all athletes set to compete at the Games and learn more about the National Olympic Committees (NOCs) that are taking part in Tokyo 2020.

Which Olympic stars are on the verge of making history?
Sprinter Usain Bolt and Michael Phelps may have retired but there are several athletes who are heading to the Olympics with the potential to make history. Here are a few of them and what they hope to achieve...

Simone Biles (USA), Gymnastics
The world’s greatest gymnast won four gold medals and one bronze in Rio in 2016 and is aiming to become the first women to win back-to-back all-around titles since Vera Caslavska in 1968.

Teddy Riner (France), Judo
The 10-time world champion heads into the men’s +100kg judo competition as the double defending champion (2012 and 2016). Unbeaten for the best part of a decade with 154 consecutive victories until February 2020, the French judoka has his eyes are set on claiming his third Olympic heavyweight judo gold medal, something no one has done before.

Katie Ledecky (USA), Swimming
It would be a major upset if Katie Ledecky did not add to her six Olympic medals in her third Games. The 24-year-old is expected to compete in up to six events, including the women’s 1500m, which is appearing in an Olympics for the first time. Ledecky is virtually unbeatable in this event and holds the world record holder, among others.

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (Jamaica), Athletics
The second-fastest woman in history behind the late Florence Griffith-Joyner, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce is the one to beat in the 100m. In a field without rising star Sha’Carri Richardson (USA), the 2008 and 2012 100m champion could become the first woman to win three Olympic titles over the distance.

Eliud Kipchoge (Kenya), Athletics
Eliud Kipchoge became the first man to run a marathon in under two hours in 2019. In Tokyo, he is defending the title. If he succeeds, he will be the third person in history to win the Olympic marathon twice after Ethiopia’s Abebe Bikila (1960, 1964) and East Germany’s Waldemar Cierpinski (1976, 1980).

Caeleb Dressel (USA), Swimming
Caeleb Dressel, the first man to swim under 40 seconds in 100m freestyle, is not a record breaker in terms of the Olympics (his two gold medals at Rio 2016 came in the 4×100m freestyle and 4x100m medley relays), but he is a record breaker in every other sense. He currently holds the world records in the 100m butterfly, 50m freestyle and 100m individual medley. If the run-up to Tokyo is anything to go by, he will set new records here too. Another potential record breaker in the pool is Great Britain’s Adam Peaty. Regarded as the greatest breaststroke swimmer of all-time, Peaty has recorded the five fastest 100m breaststroke times in history and is odds-on favourite to not only defend his title in Tokyo but to also break the world record.

Allyson Felix (USA), Athletics
Allyson Felix returns for her fifth (and final) Olympic Games. The American sprinter already has six Olympic gold medals and three silvers, which makes her the most successful female athlete in history. By winning one more, she will equal Carl Lewis's record for an athlete from the United States.

UCHIMURA Kohei (Japan), Gymnastics
Three-time Olympic champion UCHIMURA Kohei is competing in his fourth Olympics. Known as “King” Kohei after becoming the first male gymnast in 44 years to retain his all-around title, the Japanese gymnast is not defending the titles on home soil. Instead, he aims for a first Olympic gold in his only event, the horizontal bar.

Laura and Jason Kenny (Great Britain), Track cycling
Track cycling’s power couple, Laura and Jason Kenny are both record breakers in their own right. Jason equalled Chris Hoy’s British record of six Olympic titles at the Rio Games, while his wife Laura won her fourth gold medal. In Tokyo, the husband and wife are capable of multiple wins.

Watch Funky Fred and Pavarotti in action
In each sport, the athletes would be nothing if it was not have their tools of the trade.

The beloved items that athletes could not do without in competition include everything from lucky underwear to surfboards (other equipment is essential in other sports too). If that's not enough, they are given some great names too. The prime example are the best and most specialised companions in the Olympic sports - the horses in the equestrian disciplines.

Among those set to be in action at the Equestrian Park are Blue Movie (who is ridden by Australia's Rowan Willis), Funky Fred (Germany's Marcus Ehning), Hot Chocolat (France's Isabelle Pinton) and Pavarotti (Canada's Jessica Phoenix).

You can see a full list of horses, their riders and grooms at Tokyo 2020 on this website and app.

New sports and new Olympic stars to come at Tokyo 2020


The biggest names in surfing will hit Tsurigasaki Beach with Olympic medals at stake for the first time.

Surfing’s debut at the Olympics includes a line-up of world champions, World Surf League (WSL) tour veterans and rookies ready to make their mark on the sport.

As is the case in modern surfing history, the top pro surfers to watch will be coming mainly from Australia and the USA, but keep an eye on those from Brazil.

The competition will take place over four days, waves permitting, with the top two surfers in each heat going through to the next round.

Those who fail to finish in the first two will compete in a repechage phase to decide who goes through to the latter rounds and, eventually, the one-on-one medal deciders.


There are two categories for each gender in this sport: street and park.

Street skateboarding is held on a straight street-style course complete with stairs, handrails, benches and walls.

The athletes are judged on the originality, execution and number of tricks they perform.

Nyjah Huston and Leticia Bufoni are among the names expected to light up Tokyo 2020.

Team USA's Huston is one of the best contest street skaters ever. He has been nominated for the illustrious Thrasher Magazine ‘Skater of the Year’ award several times, but has yet to win.

One of Huston’s closest friends, Bufoni of Brazil, is one of the favourites for victory in the women’s section of street skateboarding. A keen fitness fanatic, Bufoni has been a consistent performer at the World Skate/SLS World Championships since winning the title in 2015.

Park skateboarding takes place on a hollowed-out course featuring a series of curves and deep bowls.

Having just turned 13 when she competes at the Ariake Urban Sports Park, Great Britain’s Sky Brown will be one of the youngest competitors in the women's event and is one of main draws to park skateboarding.

Heimana Reynolds (USA) finished 2020 as the top-ranked man in park skating, while Tom Schaar is also highly rated.

Sport Climbing

The first sport climbing Olympic medals will be awarded in Tokyo in combined men's and women's competitions.

For each gender, 20 athletes will take part in all three climbing disciplines - speed, bouldering and lead.

Their placings are then multiplied – for example, a climber who finishes first, fifth, and second will have a score of 10 (1x5x2). The top six climbers with the lowest total scores go through to the final.

Those six then compete again, with the lowest total scores deciding the medals.

Janja Garnbret from Slovenia will be one of the stars to watch out for in the women's tournament. The six-time world champion is one of the best climbers in the world. "When I'm on the wall, nothing else matters," the Slovenian said in 2019.

Czech Republic's Adam Ondra is one of the men's favourites. He was the first one to ever climb a 9C+ bouldering route, considered to be the hardest route in the world, doing so on the 'Silence' formation in Norway.


Nippon Budokan, the spiritual home of Japanese traditional martial arts, will host the first Olympic karate competition in 2021.

There are six kumite events at Tokyo 2020 - three for each gender in different weight divisions - which see two opponents engage in combative sparring. The men's 67kg, 75kg, +75kg, and women's 55kg, 61kg, +61kg.

In addition to these, there are two kata competitions - one per gender - where the two opponents take it in turns to perform a routine consisting of a series of punches and kicks.

It is in kata where the host nation will be fancied to fare particularly well. Kiyuna Ryo is a firm favourite while Damián Quintero of Spain presents the biggest challenge, while Shimizu Kiyou will be tested by Spain's Sandra Sánchez in the women's event.


Baseball and softball return to the Olympic Games having been dropped after Beijing 2008.

The host nation Japan will be among the favourites in both sports, and can take inspiration from the last final in softball.

The United States of America had won all three previous gold medals, starting with the first at Atlanta 1996, and they took a 22-game winning streak into the 2008 final.

But Yukiko Ueno gave up just one run as Japan upset the favourites 3-1 to claim a first gold.

Meanwhile, the United States will look for their first baseball gold since Sydney 2000, their only triumph to date. In Beijing, South Korea defeated Cuba in the final.

Familiar sports, new disciplines

A number of sports will have new disciplines or events for Tokyo 2020. This is either to appeal to younger fans or as part of the move towards full gender equality at Olympic Games.

In basketball, countries will compete for the first time in 3X3 matches.

BMX freestyle is a new cycling discipline at the Games, while the madison has been reintroduced to the track cycling programme.

There are three new events in swimming - the women's 1500m freestyle for women, the men's 800m freestyle, and the mixed 4x100m medley relay.

Another mixed relay joins the athletics programme, where there will also be a mixed 4x400m relay on the track.

In shooting, three new mixed team events will take place: mixed trap, mixed 10m air pistol and mixed 10m air rifle.

And in archery, there will also be a new mixed team competition.

Where will the athletes compete at the Olympic Games in 2021?

Tokyo's new Olympic Stadium will be the focal point of the Games in 2021 and will host the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, athletics, and various football matches. The stadium was constructed with a hybrid wood and steel frame, with the wood in the roof structure coming from all 47 prefectures in Japan.

The Urban Park concept, which proved so successful at the 2018 Buenos Aires Youth Olympic Games, will also be in operation. BMX and skateboarding will take place at Ariake Urban Sports Park with Aomi Urban Sports Park staging sport climbing and 3X3 basketball.

There are also four existing venues which were used at the 1964 Olympic Games: the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium (table tennis), Yoyogi National Stadium (handball), Nippon Budokan (judo and karate), and Equestrian Park.

Tokyo may be the hub, but there are a number of events held in outlying venues.

Baseball and softball will be held in the Fukushima Azuma Baseball Stadium in the east of Japan, in the prefecture most affected by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake.

Just north of Fukushima is Miyagi, another city hit by the tsunami, which will host football preliminary games and quarter-finals.

The furthest outpost for the Games is Sapporo, some 850km north of the capital, which will stage football group matches, as well as the athletics race walks and marathons.

Kashima, on the east coast of Japan's main Honshu island 100km east of Tokyo, will host much of the two football tournaments, including semi-finals and the women's bronze medal match.

Source: https://olympics.com