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 particular day’s entry.

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. They qualified second fastest behind Germany, who now hold the new world record.

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. Sadly she has been forced to pull out at Tokyo due to injury, leaving the likes of Shaunae Miller-Uibo, Elaine Thompson-Herah, Marie-Josee Ta Lou and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce as the sprinters to beat.

Asher-Smith will not feature in the women’s 200m after being forced out by injury

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. The Briton has been on form in Tokyo, winning six out of the ten fleet races to guarantee a medal. The question is, which colour will it be after the double points medal races?

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.

Olympics 2020: Live Schedule

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, and the team went through initial qualifying fourth fastest to earn a ride against new Olympic record holders Denmark. Italy and New Zealand were second and third fastest.

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 – had medal aspirations after coming through a fearsome battle at the trials to secure their places on the team. But Dustin went out early and then Giles and Rowden both failed to make it through their semi-finals. Kenya’s Ferguson Rotich was the fastest qualifier through to the final.

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 last month, 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.

06:00-06:30: Boxing, women’s lightweight semi-final
British boxers had high hopes of multiple medals in Tokyo, and will at least match the five achieved at London 2012 and Melbourne 1956. Caroline Dubois, the younger sister of professional heavyweight Daniel, had been tipped to force her way onto the podium, too, having won youth Olympic and world titles. But her Tokyo journey ended at the quarter-final stage after a split decision defeat by Thailand’s Sudaporn Seesondee.

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
Argentina were the defending Olympic champions after an unexpected victory in Rio, but were knocked out in the quarter-finals by Germany. Great Britain had high hopes after coming through their group – unlike in Rio – but were unable to find a way past India. The semi-final line-up, therefore, is India vs Belgium, silver medallists in Rio, and Australia, the world’s highest ranked side, vs Germany.

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
Can Britain replicate their success of 2016 by winning gold again? They’ve certainly given themselves a chance of a podium after Maddie Hinch’s penalty shootout heroics – sound familiar? – helped them beat Spain in the quarters to set up a semi-final against the Dutch, the team they beat to gold five years ago. It promises to be a tough test but a match for a medal is guaranteed regardless. The other semi-final sees Argentina take on India.

03:00-06:00: Football, women’s gold medal match
They have dominated global football in recent decades but once again the United States have been denied the chance of going for Olympic gold. Beaten at the quarter-final stage in Rio, they fell at the semi-final hurdle this time around, beaten 1-0 by Canada. Third in Rio, the Canadians will be desperate to finally land the title in the final, but they face a strong Sweden side who knocked out Australia – quarter-final winners over Great Britain – in their own semi-final.

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 his confidence will be sky-high after a remarkable gold in the synchro event on day three.

Daley has bronze medals from London 2012 and Rio 2016

Star in the making

Joe Choong – Having finished tenth on his Olympics modern pentathlon debut in Rio, Choong returns to the team having won gold at the 2019 World Cup Final, in doing so securing himself the title of world number one. His standing among the field makes him a considerable favourite for the title. 

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

Jack Carlin – The keirin is one of the more unique events of the Olympic cycling line-up and, heralding from Japan, will help close the track programme. Jason Kenny will be the older head of one of two British entrants into the two-day event but he will be riding alongside Jack Carlin, who is making his Olympic debut in Tokyo. Carlin won bronze in the event at the 2018 European Championships.

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.