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 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. However it has been a rocky road to the gold medal match, losing exhibition matches prior to the Games before being humbled by France in their opening match. That the two teams are meeting again in the final makes for a fascinating prospect.

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 they will put their title on the line against Spain this time in the final in Yokohama. 

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, while the women qualified third from their heat.

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.

Olympics 2020: Live Schedule

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 against Japan in Tokyo would be a huge surprise.

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 in 2021 it was finally Frazer Clarke’s turn to line up against the biggest men in Olympic boxing. He won Commonwealth gold in 2018 and, aged 29, had plenty of experience to call upon. In the end it would be bronze for the Briton, beaten at the semi-final stage by Bakhodir Jalolov. The Uzbekistan boxer will face off against American Richard Rorrez Jr for gold.

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.