Olympics20 – quick stats – article

After a one-year delay caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the Olympic Games are finally upon us. With more than 11,000 athletes competing in almost 350 events over 17 days, finding the highlights can be bewildering. 

The viewing schedule below has been compiled by our Olympics experts to ensure that you know when to tune in for the key events. The full schedule for each day of competition can be found at the bottom of that day’s entry.

Olympic schedule 2021 – day 1

Saturday July 24 

Five must-watch events

03:00-10:15: Cycling, men’s road race
Four British riders will bid for success with Geraint Thomas, Tao Geoghegan Hart and twin brothers Simon and Adam Yates all in action. All bar the latter come into the Games off the back of this year’s Tour de France while Chris Froome, winner of medals at the last two Olympics, missed out on selection for Tokyo.

03:00-12:00: Tennis, men’s and women’s singles and doubles first round
Andy Murray has made the Olympics arena his own in recent years, winning back-to-back gold at London 2012 and Rio 2016. While a number of big names have declined to take part in Tokyo, including Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams, Murray, who underwent hip surgery in 2019, is back again to lead the British team. 

Andy Murray opens his campaign against ninth seed Felix Auger-Aliassime

08:30-13:30: Football, women’s group stage, Japan v Great Britain
Having opted against sending a team for the Rio Games, Britain will be hoping to win a medal here under manager Hege Riise. They play the second match of their campaign in Sapporo against Olympic hosts Japan, who England beat in the 2019 World Cup group stage.

10:30-14:15: Hockey, men’s pool stages: Great Britain v South Africa
Britain’s first task at these Games will be to make it out of the pool stage – something they unexpectedly failed to do last time around in Rio. Since that shock result, England have finished fourth in the 2018 World Cup and fourth at the 2021 EuroHockey Nations Championship, and GB begin their campaign against one of the weaker sides in the competition.

11:00-13:30: Swimming, men’s 100m breaststroke heats
Over the past six years, Britain’s Adam Peaty has proved he has no rival over the 100m breaststroke. The reigning Olympic and triple world 100m breaststroke champion has the 20 fastest times in history and his world record is more than a second quicker than anyone else has ever managed. Expect smooth progress here.

Brit to watch

Seonaid McIntosh – The first gold medal of the Olympics will likely arrive in shooting, with the final of the women’s 10m air rifle. Although the weaker of the two events McIntosh will contest in Tokyo, the Scot has previously claimed a World Cup silver medal and could become the first British woman to make an Olympic shooting podium.

Star in the making

Cheavon Clarke – Just six years ago, British men’s heavyweight Cheavon Clarke was working as an HGV driver, delivering products for B&Q and Homebase. The Jamaican-born boxer has won medals at European and Commonwealth level but this is his first stab at the Olympics.

It’s time to get into

3×3 basketball – Long played informally on courts worldwide, three-a-side basketball makes its Olympic debut just nine years after the sport’s first World Cup was held. It is played on a half court with both teams shooting into the same hoop.

Olympics 2020: Live Schedule

Olympic schedule 2021 – day 2

Sunday July 25
Five must-watch events

23:00-08:20: Surfing, men’s and women’s round 1&2
Weather-permitting, the first ever day of surfing at an Olympics will take place with the opening rounds of the men and women’s shortboard competitions. Talented surfer Sky Brown has opted to focus solely on skateboarding, so Britain will not be represented. Expect the United States, Australia and Brazil to dominate.

01:30-05:45: Hockey, women’s pool stages: Britain v Germany
Things have not quite gone to plan since Great Britain won a dramatic gold medal at the Rio 2016 Olympics. England were dumped at the quarter-finals when hosts of the 2018 World Cup, and they finished fifth at the EuroHockey Nations Championship in June.

Copy of OLYMPIC EVENT GIF OF EVENTS 1

03:12: Swimming, women’s 400m individual medley final
In a sport accustomed to competitors excelling over multiple distances, Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu is considered one of the most versatile. The defending champion, however, was the second slowest qualifier for the final with Britain’s Aimee Wilmott, the reigning Commonwealth Games champion, the second fastest behind American favourite Emma Weyant.

05:00-09:35: Cycling, women’s road race
Lizzie Deignan (nee Armitstead) made history at London 2012 when she won road race silver for the host nation’s first medal of the Games. She missed the podium when finishing fifth at Rio 2016, but remains Britain’s best hope here although it will be tough to get past the Dutch pair of Anna van der Breggen and Annemiek van Vleuten.

05:45-09:25: Archery, women’s team event: quarter-finals, semi-finals, medal matches
Britain did not qualify to contest the women’s team event last time round in Rio, but secured their spot by claiming bronze at the 2019 World Championships. After Friday’s seeding round, they earned themselves a 1/8 elimination against Italy in the early hours of Sunday. Come through that and things could get interesting, but it would be a bigger upset if South Korea did not walk away with gold.

Brit to watch

Jade Jones – Nicknamed ‘The Headhunter’ due to her penchant for kicking people in the head, Jones will bid to complete an Olympic taekwondo hat-trick after triumphing in the 57kg category at London 2012 and Rio 2016. Win and she would be the first British female to claim gold at three consecutive Olympic Games.

Jones says that anything less than gold will be a failure

Star in the making

Nyjah Huston  You may not know his name, but Huston has almost five million Instagram followers and his own Nike shoe range. He is also the best street skateboarder in the world and favourite to win the first ever Olympic gold.

It’s time to get into

Skateboarding  One of five sports making their debuts at the Olympics, skateboarding sees men and women compete in park and street disciplines, starting with the men’s street event. Athletes are judged on speed, difficulty, originality, timing, stability and overall flow.

Olympic schedule 2021 – day 3

 
Monday July 26
Five must-watch events

22:30 (Sunday) – 01:00 (Monday): Triathlon, men’s race
The Alistair Brownlee era might be over after the double Olympic champion failed to qualify for these Games, but his brother Jonny will attempt to ensure the title stays in the family after bronze at London 2012 and silver at Rio 2016. Young talent Alex Yee is Britain’s other entrant.

01:00-11:30: Rugby sevens, men’s pool competition
Rugby sevens only made its Olympic debut at Rio 2016, where Britain’s men’s team snuck past Argentina and South Africa in the knockout stages before losing to Fiji in the final. They finished fifth in last year’s pandemic-curtailed World Series and begin their pool campaign here. 

02:30-04:40: Swimming, men’s 100m breaststroke final
Given his total dominance over the event, it would be one of the biggest surprises of the Games if Adam Peaty did not double his Olympic gold-medal tally here. For the past half-dozen years the question has not been whether he will win, but how fast he can go. It is largely a race against the clock.

Peaty holds the 20 fastest times in history in his event

07:00-08:00: Diving, men’s 10m platform synchro final
At the age of 27, Tom Daley is already competing at his fourth Olympics looking to add to two bronze medals. He competes in the 10m platform synchro alongside Matty Lee here, with the pair winning bronze at the 2019 World Championships, as well as two gold medals this year: at the European Championships and World Cup in May, where the all-conquering Chinese were absent.

11:00-14:10: Gymnastics, men’s artistic team final
It is remarkable to think that when Louis Smith won bronze in 2008, he ended an 80-year gymnastics medal drought for Britain. In 2016, Max Whitlock won double gold and he will spearhead a British team who only just missed the podium in fourth place last Olympics.

Brit to watch

Marcus Mepstead – Britain’s sole fencer in Tokyo, but two-time Olympian is not to be underestimated. Moved to New York to keep his Olympics dream alive when funding was cut and then won world silver in 2019. Qualified as Europe’s leading foil fencer.

Star in the making

Tom Pidcock – The 21-year-old talented British all-rounder could easily be lining up in the road race on his Olympic debut, but the reigning under-23 world cyclo-cross champion has opted instead for mountain biking. Having recovered from surgery on a broken collarbone he has declared gold is his aim.

It’s time to get into

Mountain biking – Admitted into the Olympics at Atlanta 1996, mountain biking is the only form of cross-country cycling contested at the Olympics. Courses often consist of forest paths and other trails, testing a rider’s bike handling as well as their speed.

Olympic schedule 2021 – day 4

Tuesday July 27

Five must-watch events

22:30 (Monday) – 01:05 (Tuesday): Triathlon, women’s race
Such is the strength in depth within Britain’s female triathlon ranks that there are a number of women not selected for Tokyo who might have considered themselves medal contenders. The three who made it are Olympic bronze medallist Vicky Holland, 2020 world champion Georgia Taylor-Brown and 2019 world silver medallist Jess Learmonth.

07:00-08:00: Diving, women’s 10m platform synchro
British duo Lois Toulson and Eden Cheng secured their Olympic spot when claiming World Cup silver in May, before matching that finish at the European Championships. Toulson finished fifth alongside Tonia Couch at the last Olympics, with Britain last winning a female diving medal in 1960.

09:00-14:40: Equestrianism, team dressage final
Guided by three-time Olympic champion Charlotte Dujardin, Britain will firmly anticipate winning a team dressage medal after claiming gold in 2012 and silver in 2016. As ever, expect regular medallists Germany to provide the stiffest competition.

11:00-14:30: Taekwondo, men’s +80kg final
The battle to be selected as Britain’s sole representative was fierce with Rio bronze medallist Mahama Cho chosen ahead of Lutalo Muhammad, who won bronze at London 2012 and silver at Rio 2016 in a lighter category. Also competing is Tongan Pita Taufatofua, famed for his topless appearance as his country’s flag bearer at the 2016 opening ceremony. 

11:45-14:10: Gymnastics, women’s artistic team final 
The remarkable Simone Biles led the United States to gold at Rio 2016 as one of four Olympic titles she claimed. Everything suggests the same will happen again here, with Britain hoping to edge their way into the minor medals after a strong showing at this year’s European Championships.

Biles has become the face of the Olympics, for America and beyond

Brit to watch

Bianca Walkden – The British fighter is one of the most decorated women in Taekwondo history, part of an elite club of just four to have won three world titles. Ranked No 1 in the world in the +67kg category, she heads to Tokyo fully expecting to improve on the bronze medal she won at Rio 2016 and return home with gold.

Star in the making

Sunisa Lee – The 18-year-old will be part of the American women’s gymnastics team bidding for gold but it won’t all be the Simone Biles show. Lee, the first Hmong American at the Olympics, actually posted a higher all-around score than Biles at the US trials and is a wonder on the uneven bars. 

It’s time to get into

Softball – Last contested in 2008, softball returns to the Olympics for a one-off stint before it is dropped again for 2024. Contested only by women, it is a sister event to baseball and follows many of the same rules and conventions.

Olympic schedule 2021 – day 5

Wednesday July 28

Five must-watch events

00:30-03:40: Rowing, men’s four final
There are few events in which Britain has a richer history than the men’s coxless four, having won Olympic gold at every Games this century. The team has a different look to it this time though, albeit they did take European gold earlier this summer.

03:30-09:40: Cycling, men’s and women’s time trials
While a number of leading men’s names will probably be missing, the women’s race is likely to be hotly contested between the Dutch all-star line-up of Anna van der Breggen and Anna van Vleuten. British hopes lay with Tao Geoghegan Hart and Geraint Thomas in the men’s race, with Anna Shackley in the women’s.

07:00-08:00: Diving, men’s 3m synchro
Jack Laugher and Chris Mears became Britain’s first Olympic diving champions when they won this event in Rio. Mears has since retired, with Laugher now competing alongside Daniel Goodfellow. The pair won world silver in 2019 and warmed up with victory at the World Series in Tokyo in May.

Copy of OLYMPIC EVENT GIF OF EVENTS 1

08:30-11:00: Rugby, men’s bronze medal match, gold medal match
With the quarter-finals complete, Britain will hope to have remained in the hunt for a medal after claiming silver last time out in Rio. However, traditional powerhouses New Zealand, Fiji and South Africa will be hard to beat.

12:45-15:35: 3×3 Basketball, men and women’s finals
The first 3×3 basketball champions will be crowned as the debut sport reaches its climax. Reigning men’s world champions United States failed to even qualify for the Olympics without any current NBA players considered for selection. Serbia have historically been the strongest men’s nation, with France and China among the best women’s countries.

Brit to watch

Charlotte Dujardin – Courtesy of her three Olympic and two world titles, Dujardin is widely considered to be Britain’s most successful ever dressage rider. Her victories at London 2012 and Rio 2016 came with her horse Valegro, who retired before 2017. In Tokyo, she will be on a new ride, Gio.

Star in the making

Dusan Bulut – Serbia are the kings of men’s 3×3 basketball and their point guard Bulut is the world’s standout player. Now aged 35, this is his chance to exhibit his skills to the world on the biggest stage of all.

It’s time to get into

Surfing – Making its Olympic debut in Tokyo, the surfing competition in Tokyo consists of men and women’s shortboard contests. Four competitors take part in each 20 to 25-minute heat and scoring is determined by difficulty of manouevres performed. Weather-depending, today will be the day the first Olympic champions are crowned.

Olympic schedule 2021 – day 6

Thursday July 29

Five must-watch events

23:30 (Wednesday) – 08:00 (Thursday): Golf, men’s first round
When golf made its Olympic debut at Rio 2016 it was Britain’s Justin Rose who became the first ever gold medallist, beating Sweden’s Henrik Stenson by two strokes but neither qualified this time. Amid a raft of top name withdrawals, the USA still boasts an impressive quartet of Justin Thomas, Collin Morikawa, Xander Schauffele and Bryson DeChambeau.

02:30-05:10: Swimming, men’s 100m freestyle final
Often considered swimming’s blue riband event, the 100m freestyle pits Australia’s reigning Olympic champion Kyle Chalmers against Caeleb Dressel, of the United States. Dressel has won an astonishing 13 world titles since the last Olympics and is expected to make a big statement at these Tokyo Games.

06:00-08:45: Canoe slalom, women’s C1 final
Not contested at previous Olympics, the women’s C1 sees Britain’s Mallory Franklin attempt to follow 2016 champion Joe Clarke in becoming an Olympic canoe slalom gold medalist. Franklin won the world title in 2017 and is a regular on World Cup podiums. Expect Australia’s Jessica Fox to be near the top of the standings.

11:00-14:45: Hockey, Great Britain v Netherlands, Women’s pool A
There was almost nothing to separate these two sides when they met in the final at Rio 2016, with Britain eventually edging their way to gold in a dramatic penalty shootout. Their rematch here is an early one in the pool stage as they look to secure their quarter-final places. Earlier in the day, the respective men’s teams also face off.

11:50-14:05 Gymnastics: women’s all-round individual
Welcome to what is expected to be the Simone Biles show. The American is on her way to becoming the most decorated gymnast in history after winning four Olympic titles at Rio 2016. She has claimed five of the last six world all-around gold medals, having opted to sit out in 2017.

Brit to watch

Helen Glover – Few people expected Glover to compete in Tokyo. The double Olympic rowing champion had retired after winning her second women’s pair gold at Rio 2016 and has since become a mother to three children. But she confirmed her return to the sport earlier this year and won European gold with new partner Polly Swann in April.

Glover, left, only decided to compete at these Games when they were delayed by a year

Star in the making

Matt Coward-Holley – Rugby’s loss is shooting’s gain with Coward-Holley having returned to the sport after injury dashed his oval-ball dreams. His transition from double trap (no longer an Olympic discipline) to trap has also paid dividends with world gold in 2019, followed by the European title this year.  

It’s time to get into

BMX racing – Since making its debut at the 2008 Olympics, BMX racing has become one of the most exhilarating fixtures of the Games with up to eight riders per race doing battle over a 400-metre downhill course featuring jumps and banked corners.

Olympic schedule 2021 – day 7

Friday July 30

Five must-watch events

00:45-02:55: Rowing, women’s and men’s eight finals
Britain head into the men’s eight as reigning champions, after upgrading a silver and bronze at the preceding two Olympics to gold in 2016. They will do well to repeat the feat in Tokyo, having failed to finish higher than third at subsequent World Championships. The British women claimed Olympic silver last time – their first medal in the event

02:00-04:20: Cycling, men’s and women’s BMX racing finals
One of the most exciting events reaches its conclusion, with eight men and women hurtling down the course in the BMX racing finals. American Connor Fields will attempt to retain his crown, although Sylvain Andre of France may prove his stiffest competition. Colombia’s double Olympic champion Mariana Pajon remains the woman to beat.

02:30-04:10: Swimming, men’s 200m backstroke final
Britain’s Luke Greenbank watched the last Olympics from home a year after competing at the World Junior Championships. Now, aged 23, he is a firm medal prospect after winning world bronze in 2019 and European silver earlier this year, behind Russian Evgeny Rylov on both occasions.

06:00-09:00: Canoe slalom, men’s K1 final
Such is the competition in Britain’s K1 ranks that surprise reigning Olympic champion Joe Clarke was controversially omitted from the team in favour of Bradley Forbes-Cryans based on performance at the 2019 World Championships. Neither man made the top eight at the recent European Championships.

OLYMPIC EVENT GIF OF EVENTS 3

04:00-12:00: Tennis, men’s doubles gold medal match
The first tennis medal of the Tokyo Games is in the men’s doubles. Andy Murray links up with Joe Salisbury, although it would be something of a surprise to see them in the final given the Scot’s injury troubles, while Jamie Murray resurrects his partnership with Neal Skupski after Dan Evans withdrew due to catching Covid.

Brit to watch

Keely Hodgkinson – The European indoor 800m champion, who broke the world under-20 record in January, served notice of intent at the British Olympic trials by beating Laura Muir and Jemma Reekie to the title. Talented teenager has been tipped to break Dame Kelly Holmes’ 1995 national record.

Star in the making

Simone Manuel – Manuel’s status does not yet befit becoming the first African-American woman to win an individual Olympic swimming title when she claimed 100m freestyle gold in 2016. She has since claimed nine world titles and looks set to be one of the stars of Tokyo.

It’s time to get into

Trampoline – Introduced into the Olympics in 2000, trampoline sees gymnasts spring up to heights of eight metres while completing a number of twists and somersaults. Britain made the podium for the first time at Rio 2016 courtesy of silver medallist Bryony Page.

Olympic schedule 2021 – day 8

Saturday July 31

Five must-watch events

23:30 (Friday) – 01:25 (Saturday): Triathlon, mixed relay
Introduced for the first time at these Olympics, the mixed relay sees teams of two men and two women compete over a short-course (300m swim, 8km bike, 2km run) before tagging a team-mate in a race lasting around 90 minutes. Britain will hope to win a medal, but France, United States and Australia should be strong.

02:30-04:20: Swimming, women’s 800m freestyle finals
Katie Ledecky won her first gold medal in this event at the 2012 Olympics, but it was four years later in Rio that she truly burst onto the international stage with four more Olympic titles. She has won the 800m freestyle at every Olympics and World Championships since 2012.

04:00-09:10: Shooting, women’s 50m rifle 3 positions
At the last Olympics, Jennifer McIntosh was Britain’s representative in this event. Having retired from competitive shooting, it is Jennifer’s younger sister Seonaid who now takes the reins. Aged 25, she is already one of Britain’s most successful ever female shooters and is ranked world No 1.

04:00-12:00: Tennis, women’s singles gold medal match
Olympic tennis gold medallists are not always the easiest to predict, with the unseeded Monica Puig winning Puerto Rico’s first ever Olympic title in Rio. Serena Williams has opted not to travel, while Simona Halep is out injured, but Japan’s Naomi Osaka would prove a popular winner for the home crowd. 

Osaka has not entered a tournament since this year's French Open

11:00-13:55: Athletics, women’s 100m final
The women’s 100m final promises to be a fascinating race. Dina Asher-Smith won world silver in 2019 behind Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and the double Olympic champion looks very hard to beat again in Tokyo. The unknowns are Jamaica’s Shericka Jackson and reigning Olympic champion Elaine Thompson-Herah. 

Brit to watch

Emma Wilson – Following in the footsteps of her mother Penny, who was a windsurfer at two Olympics, Emma Wilson makes her Team GB debut in Tokyo. A double world youth champion, Wilson made the European podium in 2018 and 2019. Expect Holland’s Lillian de Geus and reigning Olympic champion Charline Picon, of France, to challenge in the medal race.

Star in the making

Rhyan White – The 21-year-old backstroke specialist caused one of the biggest upsets of the US Olympic swimming trials when she beat reigning 200m world champion and world record holder Regan Smith. Her winning time made her the third fastest American woman of all-time and expectations will be high she can deliver again in the event in Tokyo.

It’s time to get into

BMX freestyle – Another sport making its Olympic debut in Tokyo, BMX freestyle sees competitors given 60 seconds to execute as many tricks as they can on skate park obstacles including walls, box jumps and spines.

Olympic schedule 2021 – day 9

Sunday August 1

Five must-watch events

02:10-04:50: Cycling (BMX freestyle), women’s and men’s park final
The first ever Olympic BMX freestyle medals will be awarded, with Britain hoping to make it onto the podium. Charlotte Worthington is firmly in the medal hunt after winning European gold in 2019 and bronze at the last two World Championships. However, America’s Hannah Roberts will be extremely hard to beat.

02:30-04:25: Swimming, men’s and women’s 50m freestyle finals
The action from the swimming pool comes to a close with five gold medals available including the two quickest races on the programme. Expect double Olympic and 13-time world champion Caeleb Dressel to be favourite in the men’s race, with a fascinating battle in the offing among the leading women.

04:00-12:00: Tennis, men’s singles gold medal match
Andy Murray has already experienced plenty of Olympic highs but a third consecutive gold, after coming back from hip surgery, would surely top them all. The Briton is back on the team but match fitness remains a concern. A number of top players, such as Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem, will definitely be absent though, meaning chances will open up for others.

11:00-13:55: Athletics, men’s 100m final
This will be the first time someone other than Usain Bolt has won the track programme’s blue riband event since 2004. America’s Trayvon Bromell looks like the man to beat after battling his way back from serious injuries. Expect Canada’s Andre De Grasse to challenge for the medals, with Zharnel Hughes, given a discretionary place after false-starting at the trials, Britain’s best hope.

Bromell's personal best is 9.77sec

12:30-15:00: Badminton, women’s singles gold medal match
Rio 2016 saw Spain’s double world champion Carolina Marin win gold and China fail to make the podium for the first time since 1996. Marin, however, will be absent in Tokyo after tearing her ACL, giving reigning world champion PV Sindhu a great chance of becoming India’s first female champion in the event.

Brit to watch

Max Whitlock – Whitlock became Britain’s first ever Olympic artistic gymnastics champion when he won both the floor and pommel horse on the same day in 2016. He has opted only to defend his pommel horse title here but will face an intriguing battle from young Irish star Rhys McClenaghan, who pipped Whitlock to gold at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

Star in the making

JuVaughn Harrison – Having won both events at the US trials, Harrison, 22, is the first American to contest the high jump and long jump at an Olympics for more than a century. Incredibly, he is good enough to win a medal in both.

It’s time to get into

High jump – The winner of today’s men’s final will almost certainly exceed 2.30m. Even if you stand up and reach as high as you can, you will probably not be able to touch the gold-medal height.

Olympic schedule 2021 – day 10

Monday August 2

Five must-watch events

04:00-10:00: Sailing, women’s 49er FX medal races
Annemiek Bekkering and Annette Duetz could only finish seventh at the Rio Games, but the reigning world champions look the pair to beat in Tokyo. Brazil’s reigning Olympic champions Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze should also put up a stiff title defence, with Charlotte Dobson and Saskia Tidey going for Britain.

07:30-10:30: Cycling (track), women’s team sprint final
The opening day of action from the velodrome sees the first gold medal awarded in the women’s team sprint. China upgraded their London 2012 silver to gold at Rio 2016, although they could only finish behind Germany and Australia at the most recent World Championships. Britain will not be involved.

09:00-14:25: Equestrianism, eventing team final
Britain has a rich history in the eventing team discipline, claiming a medal at every Olympics this century until only managing to finish fifth at Rio 2016 after an unexpectedly poor cross-country performance. Having triumphed at the 2018 World Equestrian Games, they will be hopeful of returning to the podium in Tokyo.

09:00-11:15: Gymnastics, women’s floor final
While Simone Biles is the undisputed gymnastics queen, it is on the floor that she truly dazzles. She has not one, but two floor moves named after her and has won every World Championships she has contested since 2013. Defeat would be almost unimaginable. One to savour.

12:00-15:00: Badminton, men’s singles gold and bronze medal matches
Only once this century have China not won men’s singles gold, with Chen Long victorious last time in Rio. Their grip could end here though. Japan’s world No 1 Kento Momota has claimed the last two world titles, while Danish duo Viktor Axelsen and Anders Antonsen are dangerous.

Brit to watch

Cindy Sember – Sember emerged from her older sister Tiffany Porter’s shadow when finishing fourth over 100m hurdles at the last Olympics. She then suffered a career-threatening Achilles injury but battled back over a number of years and is running faster than ever this summer with a medal a distinct target.

Sember, second right, was fourth at Rio 2016

Star in the making

Emily Campbell – Eyes will be on the women’s +87kg weightlifting event with transgender athlete Laurel Hubbard representing New Zealand. However it will also be a chance for Britain’s Emily Campbell to demonstrate her clear ability on the biggest stage, with the Commonwealth Games bronze medallist having taken European gold in April.

It’s time to get into

Artistic swimming – Formerly known as synchronised swimming, the sport sees competitors perform a choreographed routine in the water set to music. It tests strength, flexibility, artistry, synchronisation and the ability to hold breath while upside down underwater.

Olympic schedule 2021 – day 11

Tuesday August 3

Five must-watch events

07:00-08:30: Diving, men’s 3m springboard final
Jack Laugher became the first British diver to win multiple Olympic diving medals at the same Games when he backed up men’s 3m synchro gold with silver in this individual event in Rio. He won world bronze in 2019 but has struggled this year and faces a challenge to beat the traditionally strong Chinese contingent.

07:30-10:10: Cycling (track), men’s team sprint final
Britain’s men completed a hat-trick of consecutive Olympic titles in this event at Rio 2016 when Philip Hindes, Jason Kenny and Callum Skinner blasted their way to gold. A much-changed line-up of Kenny, Ryan Owens and Jack Carlin claimed silver at the 2020 World Championships, but the Netherlands look like the team to beat.

07:30-10:10: Cycling (track), women’s team pursuit
The women’s team pursuit was only added to the Olympic programme in 2012 and Britain have won both gold medals available. They have since won three successive world silvers, but Laura Kenny leads their quest to return to the top of the podium in Tokyo.

09:00-11:15: Gymnastics, men’s parallel bars final
Joe Fraser became the first British gymnast ever to win a world parallel bars title when he triumphed in 2019. That victory raised his profile considerably, although any colour medal in Tokyo would be a huge success.

11:00-13:55: Athletics, women’s 200m final
Competition was scarce when Dina Asher-Smith won the world title in 2019, although she still set a British record in the process. This is her stronger event of the 100/200m, but she faces incredibly tough competition from the likes of Shaunae Miller-Uibo, Gabby Thomas and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce.

Asher-Smith has not yet said whether she will make a protest against racial inequality on the pocium — if she reaches it

Brit to watch

Giles Scott – Scott followed in the footsteps of three-time Olympic champion Ben Ainslie when he won Finn gold at Rio 2016. He has also won the world title four times but not since the same year he won Olympic gold and he only managed to finish ninth this year.

Star in the making

Mondo Duplantis – Born and raised in America, but representing Sweden, Duplantis looks set to rewrite what many thought possible in the pole vault. He already has the world record and no one comes close when he is at his best.

It’s time to get into

Sport climbing – The new fast-paced Olympic sport offers one gold medal apiece for men and women, who must compete across three distinct climbing disciplines: speed, bouldering and lead.

Olympic schedule 2021 – day 12

Wednesday August 4

Five must-watch events

22:30 (Tuesday) – 01:10 (Wednesday): Swimming, women’s 10km marathon
The first of two open-water swimming races in Tokyo, the women’s 10km race sees most of the leading swimmers from Rio 2016 return including Dutch defending champion Sharon van Rouwendaal, and Italy’s runner-up Rachele Bruni. Alice Dearing will be the first black female swimmer to represent Britain at an Olympics.

23:30 (Tuesday) – 08:00 (Wednesday): Golf, women’s first round
The inaugural Olympic women’s golf tournament saw a full complement of the world’s best players, with South Korea’s Inbee Park beating New Zealand’s Lydia Ko. Park is one of three South Koreans near the top of the world rankings alongside America’s Nelly Korda. Mel Reid and Charley Hull go for Britain.

07:30-11:00: Cycling (track), men’s team pursuit final
In recent years, Britain and the men’s team pursuit have gone hand in hand, with gold medals at the last three Olympics. Only Ed Clancy remains of the team from Rio 2016 though, so it will be a battle with traditional rivals Australia for top spot.

10:30-14:00: Athletics, men’s 800m final
The race looks wide open after America’s world champion Donavan Brazier unexpectedly failed to qualify. All three British competitors – Elliot Giles, Oliver Dustin and Daniel Rowden – have medal aspirations after coming through a fearsome battle at the trials to secure their places on the team.

10:30-14:00: Athletics, men’s 200m final
With triple Olympic champion Usain Bolt retired, the mantle looks set to pass to America’s world champion Noah Lyles, who is the fourth-fastest man in history over the distance. Competition could come from his compatriots, including 17-year-old Erriyon Knighton. Adam Gemili would love to improve on his fourth place at the last Olympics.

Lyles has the potential to become the biggest name in athletics

Brits to watch

Hannah Mills and Eilidh McIntyre – Mills won sailing 470 silver at London 2012 and gold at Rio 2016, both times with Saskia Clark as her crew. She now has a new partner in McIntyre, whose father won an Olympic sailing gold in 1988, and together they won the world title in 2019. Victory would make Mills the most successful female Olympic sailor in history.

Star in the making

Sky Brown – She only turned 13 on July 12, but Brown has already become the world’s youngest professional skateboarder, released a music single and won the American TV programme Dancing with the Stars: Juniors. She contests the women’s park event in Tokyo.

It’s time to get into

Handball – Although hugely popular in continental Europe, handball is largely ignored in Britain. Similar to indoor football – but using hands instead of feet – it is one of the most fast-paced and exciting team sports.

Olympic schedule 2021 – day 13

Thursday August 5

Five must-watch events

01:00-07:05: Athletics, men’s 110m hurdles final
One of the best indoor 60m hurdlers in the world, Andrew Pozzi has tended to fade in the closing stages of the longer outdoor version. However, 2020 was his fastest year and he ended it ranked world No 2. World champion Grant Holloway looks almost impossible to beat unless he makes a mistake.

06:00-08:10: Boxing, men’s featherweight (52-57kg) final
Peter McGrail is one of a number of British fighters in Tokyo with genuine medal aspirations. He has made major podiums a number of times in his career – including winning European and Commonwealth gold – and is one of the leading candidates for featherweight glory.

07:30-10:50: Cycling (track), men’s omnium
Britain have made the omnium podium both times since it joined the Olympic programme, with Ed Clancy taking bronze in 2012 and Mark Cavendish silver in 2016. Matt Walls is the man tasked with extending that streak. He won world bronze last year and then followed up by claiming the European title.

11:00-13:10: Hockey, men’s gold medal match
If Britain have made it to the last two it would be a huge achievement that will have seen them punch above their weight and world ranking of sixth (as England). Argentina are the defending Olympic champions after an unexpected victory in Rio, while Belgium, Australia and the Netherlands are also leading contenders.

11:00-13:45: Athletics, women’s heptathlon
Were it not for injury, Katarina Johnson-Thompson would be the woman to beat in Tokyo, after winning her first world heptathlon title in 2019. A serious Achilles injury meant she barely competed before these Olympics though, which puts Olympic champion Nafi Thiam in pole position if she can recover from her own injury issues.

Brit to watch

Liam Heath – Crowned Olympic canoe sprint K1 champion in Rio, Heath went on to complete a clean sweep by adding the world and European titles the following year. He is the reigning world champion after another success in 2019, although he was pipped into silver at the latest European Championships in June.

Star in the making

Andrea Spendolini-Sirieix – Spendolini-Sirieix, the daughter of television personality Fred Sirieix, is the youngest diver on the British team aged 16, but she won two medals at the European Championships in May.

It’s time to get into

Karate – Appearing as a one-off before it is ditched for Paris 2024, the Olympic karate programme features separate medals for Kumite (sparring against an opponent) and Kata (solo demonstrations of moves).

Olympic schedule 2021 – day 14

Friday August 6

Five must-watch events

11:00-13:10: Hockey, women’s gold medal match
Have Britain been able to give themselves a chance of replicating their success of 2016 by making the final? It seems unlikely given results in the years since but they may be there. More likely to make it are the Netherlands – defeated finalists at the last Olympics – and Australia. But upsets do happen as Ireland showed by making the last World Cup final.

03:00-06:00: Football, women’s gold medal match
Given their global dominance over recent decades, it would be a surprise if the United States did not make the final, although they unexpectedly lost in the quarter-finals at Rio 2016. Reigning Olympic champions Germany did not even qualify for the Tokyo Games. Britain, returning to the Olympics arena, reached the quarter-finals in 2012.

06:30-12:15: Modern pentathlon, women’s competition
Rio 2016 was the first time Britain had failed to make the podium since modern pentathlon was introduced for women at the turn of the century. Kate French finished fifth in Brazil and made the podium at the 2019 World Championships. She competes alongside compatriot Joanna Muir here.

07:30-11:15: Cycling (track), men’s sprint final
Taking part in his fourth Olympics, Jason Kenny already has the joint-highest number of gold medals for Britain and could go clear at the top with a seventh in Tokyo. He has won the last two Olympic sprint titles, but failed to make the quarter-finals of the last World Championships and is now 33.

Kenny is hoping to reach the final of individual and team sprint

11:50-14:55: Athletics, men’s and women’s 4x100m relay finals
At the Rio 2016 Olympics, Britain’s sprint relay programme was halfway through a big turnaround in performance. Only the women’s team secured a medal there, but between them they have won one gold and three silver medals at the last two World Championships. As ever, the United States and Jamaica are the biggest threats.

Brit to watch

Laura Muir – That Muir has never won an Olympic or world outdoor medal owes mainly to the strength of her rivals. She has finished fifth, fourth and fifth over 1,500m at the last three World Championships, but is in one of the toughest events in athletics. The absence of some of the world’s best should mean she makes the podium here.

Star in the making

Shauna Coxsey – Sport climbing’s inclusion for the Tokyo Olympics was a huge moment for Coxsey, who is Britain’s most successful ever climber. She claimed double bronze at the 2019 World Championships and will hope to win a medal here.

It’s time to get into

Beach volleyball – The women’s final heralds the penultimate day of beach volleyball action, a sport played in pairs on sand which requires supreme agility and reflexes. United States and Brazil are the traditional superpowers.

Olympic schedule 2021 – day 15

Saturday August 7

Five must-watch events

23:00 (Friday) – 02:15 (Saturday): Athletics, women’s marathon
The last time the world’s best female marathon runners raced at a major championships, carnage ensued with multiple collapses in the oppressive midnight heat of Qatar in 2019. Kenya’s Ruth Chepngetich triumphed that day to win the world title, but compatriot and world record holder Brigid Kosgei is the woman to beat.

03:30-05:30: Basketball, men’s gold medal match
Given the strength of the NBA league, it is perhaps no surprise that the United States are the dominant force in men’s basketball. They have won six of seven gold medals available since NBA players were allowed to compete and are expected to triumph again here. Reigning world champions Spain are their biggest threat.

06:30-12:15: Modern pentathlon, men’s competition
Modern pentathlon has featured at every Olympics since 1912 but Britain have never won a men’s individual medal. Joe Choong and Jamie Cooke could both end that drought. Cooke won the world title in 2018 and European gold a year later, while Choong claimed gold at the 2019 World Cup Final.

12:30-15:30: Football, men’s gold medal match
Attempting to predict the winner of an Olympic men’s football tournament (restricted to Under-24 players, plus three over-age additions) is notoriously difficult, with 12 different nations experiencing glory in the last 13 Games. Brazil won a penalty shootout against Germany to take gold in 2016 and have won medals at six of the last nine Olympics. 

11:00-14:20: Athletics, men’s and women’s 4x400m relay finals
The traditional finale to the track programme is almost always an opportunity for the United States to add two more gold medals. Their women have not lost at the Olympics since 1992, and men only twice since 1984. Britain’s men will likely struggle to make the final, but the women could threaten for a minor medal.

Brit to watch

Tom Daley – Daley was just 14 when he competed at his first Olympics, and he claimed a first 10m platform world title a year later. It has been a sometimes rocky road since, but he won bronze in the same event at London 2012 and regained his world title in 2017. 

Daley has bronze medals from London 2012 and Rio 2016

Star in the making

Charley Davison – Davison’s boxing journey actually first started aged eight before winning world silver as a teenager, but the latest chapter comes after taking a seven-year break to give birth to three children. She returned by winning the national championship in 2019. A medal on her Olympics debut will go down a treat with her two sons and daughter. 

It’s time to get into

Baseball – Back at the Olympics for the first time since 2008, the baseball tournament features just six nations. Often referred to as an American version of cricket, it all comes down to the number of runs scored across nine innings.

Olympic schedule 2021 – day 16

Sunday August 8

Five must-watch events

23:00 (Saturday) – 01:45 (Sunday): Athletics, men’s marathon
The final athletics event of the Olympics sees the world’s best marathon runners do battle on the streets of Sapporo. Reigning Olympic champion and world-record holder Eliud Kipchoge remains the favourite despite a rare poor outing at the 2020 London Marathon. Britain’s Callum Hawkins has his eye on a medal.

Kipchoge will be expecting to bring the athletics meeting to a close with victory

02:00-05:15: Cycling, men’s keirin
Taking over from Chris Hoy, who triumphed in 2008 and 2012, Jason Kenny added keirin gold to his already bulging Olympic medal collection in 2016. He had a poor outing at last year’s World Championships though, and Netherlands’ Harrie Lavreysen is the likely favourite.

03:30-06:00: Basketball, women’s gold medal match
Perhaps even more so than their male counterparts, the United States women’s basketball team is utterly dominant at Olympic level, winning eight of the last nine gold medals. Anything other than victory in Tokyo would be a huge surprise. Australia are their closest challengers.

06:00-07:55: Boxing, men’s super heavyweight (+91kg) final
He was Anthony Joshua’s understudy in 2012 and omitted in favour of Joe Joyce in 2016, but now it is Frazer Clarke’s turn to line up against the biggest men in Olympic boxing. He won Commonwealth gold in 2018 and, aged 29, has plenty of experience to call upon.

12:00-15:00: Closing ceremony
Granted, the closing ceremony will have a very different look to it due to coronavirus restrictions and the fact all athletes must leave Japan 48 hours after their competition finishes. But you can be sure Tokyo organisers will still want to put on a show to round off what has been an epic undertaking. Plus there will be a glimpse of what Paris 2024 has to offer.

Brit to watch

Laura Kenny – Having already competed in the Madison and team pursuit in Tokyo, Laura Kenny rounds off her third Olympics by attempting to successfully defend the omnium title she has won at the past two Games. She returned from injury to win European omnium silver in November 2020.

Star in the making

Caroline Dubois – Dubois, the younger sister of professional heavyweight Daniel, has won youth Olympic and world titles. Now, aged 20, she steps up to the senior ranks. She was beaten by Ireland’s Kellie Harrington in the final of the European Olympic qualifier in June.

It’s time to get into

Water polo – Dominated at the Olympics by eastern European countries, water polo is one of the most physically demanding sports, as well as having the capacity to turn brutal on occasion.