The Olympic Rings in Tokyo

Credit: Getty

The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games is underway! But unless you are in Japan, your chances of seeing any of it are… slim. Very slim.

But do not despair, for we have glad tidings of great joy: all the UK television coverage, with start times, presenters, pundits and all the rest is detailed below.

What is it?

It’s the Olympics! Invented by Ancient Greece, and held in the modern age every four years usually – more about that below). This time it is in Japan, and the world’s eyes are on Tokyo Olympics 2021.

What events started the Games?

On Wednesday, July 21, the first round of the women’s softball had the honour of being the first event in the 2021 Tokyo Olympic Games.

Later that morning, there was also women’s football first-round matches, where Team GB beat Chile 2-0.

Stadium at Tokyo Olympics

Credit: Reuters

What times of day are the events on in the UK?

This is a good question and unfortunately it has a less than ideal answer, unless you really like staying up late, or have insomnia.

There is more detail here of key events, British hopefuls and medal chances.

But broadly speaking, the time difference in Tokyo – which is eight hours ahead of the UK – is going to mean some punchy starts for fans in the UK. But that’s fine! Olympics!

Most events will be between midnight UK time and about 3pm BST.

When do the Olympics end?

The Games will officially come to an end this Sunday, August 8, following the closing ceremony, which will begin at 12:30pm BST.

The ceremony will see the handover from Tokyo to Paris, the next hosts of the Games in 2024, along with a hosting of flags, an athletes’ parade and closing speeches. 

13 gold medals will be up for grabs on Sunday, including 4 in boxing and 3 in track cycling. The men’s marathon will be the final athletics event of the Tokyo Olympics, as is tradition.   

How can I watch on TV in the UK?

If you have BBC TV, then truly, these are the good times. The BBC will be putting on huge amounts of coverage, and the Games are also being shown on Eurosport, for the hardcore. The Discovery+ streaming service is also broadcasting the Games online. 

Eurosport is a subscription TV channel. It costs £6.99 per month if you pay for a month. You can get an annual pass for £39.99 and literally watch all the downhill skiing you could ever wish to see.

How can I livestream the Olympics online?

You can stream the Olympics online on BBC iPlayer app or also on the BBC website.

How much coverage will be on the BBC?

The BBC is broadcasting 350 hours of Olympics coverage on television. There will also be extensive coverage of the Games on Radio 5 Live.

Will the BBC be big in Japan?

Obviously, the national broadcaster will have a team in Japan but the days of them taking a cast of thousands are over for now. Because of Covid. The shadow of which, you have to say, hangs over the Games.

They will instead present from a studio in Salford, with virtual reality backdrops of Japan.

Who will be on pundit duty for the BBC?

The BBC’s team of pundits features Jessica Ennis-Hill, Michael Johnson, Chris Hoy, Katherine Grainger, Nicola Adams, Rebecca Adlington and Victoria Pendleton.

And who will be the BBC presenters? 

Plenty of familiar faces…

JJ Chalmers will host from midnight-05:00 BST.

Dan Walker and Sam Quek will host BBC Breakfast from 05:00-09:00, so if you want to catch up on the overnight action and for some reason cannot stay awake for air pistol shooting on a weekday, then this is your option.

Hazel Irvine and Gabby Logan will be at the controls from from 09:00-15:00, followed by Jason Mohammad from 15:00-18:00.

Clare Balding and Alex Scott then host on BBC One from 19:30-21:00. There will then be a highlights show daily on BBC Two, from 21:00-22:00.

Good to see Clare finally get a go on the telly, she’s never on, is she? 

And better than all that

We will have live blog coverage of literally every hop, skip, jump, punch, hit, kick, lift, pedal and push on this website, via our unbeatable, unbeaten, gold medal standard live blogging.