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Tokyo Olympics: Day-by-day guide to the key events, big stars and British medal hopes

Tokyo Olympics: Day-by-day guide to the key events, big stars and British medal hopes thumbnail

Hosts: Tokyo, Japan Dates: 23 July-8 August
Coverage: Watch live on BBC TV, BBC iPlayer, BBC Red Button and online; Listen on BBC Radio 5 Live, Sports Extra and Sounds; live text and video clips on BBC Sport website and app.

It’s the Olympics we’ve all waited patiently for, so what better way to plan your two weeks than with our day-by-day guide – all times BST.

Team GB named a squad of 376 athletes on 8 July – their largest ever for an overseas Games and with more women than men for the first time at a summer Games.

Friday, 23 July – day zero

Medal events: None

12:00: Opening ceremony – Live on BBC One, BBC Red Button and online

There’s always speculation about what form the opening ceremony will take. This year, the uncertainty is only heightened by the Covid-19 pandemic and the ramifications it has on who’s able to attend and participate in the ceremony.

In 2016, Japan’s then-Prime Minister Shinzo Abe dressed up as Mario for a Nintendo-inspired handover ceremony at the Rio Olympics. The 2020 opening ceremony is expected to be similarly influenced by Japan’s place in the world of technology.

Brit watch

Team GB’s six archers will compete in the ranking round, which doesn’t eliminate anyone but does determine seedings for the men’s and women’s individual archery tournaments.

Rowing, four Team GB boats are in action. Of the 45 British rowers heading to Tokyo, only eight are returning Olympians – one of them, Rio silver medallist Vicky Thornley, will be in action on Friday in the single sculls heats.

World watch:

Norwegian rower Olaf Tufte, 45, is heading to his seventh Olympics but his first in the quad scull. The farmer and firefighter has gold medals from the Sydney and Athens Olympics and most recently picked up bronze in Rio. “I was only going to row for three weeks,” he said. “It’s been 30 years. That should be enough.”

Expert knowledge

For the first time, teams will enter the opening ceremony in Japanese-language order (using the katakana form of written Japanese). At prior Olympics held in Japan, English-language order was used. The only exceptions will be Greece and Japan. As the originating Olympic host nation, Greece always enter first at any Olympics. Japan, as is tradition, will enter last as this year’s hosts.

Saturday, 24 July – day one

Medal events: 11

Archery (mixed team), cycling (men’s road race), fencing (women’s epee, men’s sabre), judo (women’s -48kg, men’s -60kg), shooting (women’s 10m air rifle, men’s 10m air pistol), taekwondo (women’s -49kg, men’s -58kg), weightlifting (women’s -49kg).

Highlights

The men’s cycling road race (03:00-10:00) is Saturday’s biggest draw as more than 20 Olympic sports roll into action. The race is considered wide open. Britain’s four-man team comprises Tao Geoghegan Hart, Geraint Thomas, Adam Yates and Simon Yates.

Britain’s women’s football team, who beat Chile 2-0 in their opening match, face hosts Japan at 11:30. Watch for Japan captain Saki Kumagai, who helped her country to Olympic silver in 2012 and World Cup gold a year earlier. She’s considered one of the best players Japan has ever produced.

It’s men’s qualification day in artistic gymnastics from 02:00 until 14:00. Britain’s men, fifth at the 2019 World Championships, are led by double Rio gold medallist Max Whitlock.

Elsewhere, swimming begins, although there are no finals scheduled on Saturday, only heats. Expect Olympic and world champion Adam Peaty in the heats of the men’s 100m breaststroke at about 13:00.

Max Whitlock made history at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games when he won Great Britain’s first medal in the all-around event for 108 years, before becoming the first British gold medallist in artistic gymnastics with victory in the floor and pommel horse events

Brit watch

Seonaid McIntosh could be a contender in the women’s 10m air rifle (concluding about 08:00), in which she won a World Cup silver medal in 2019. This is expected to be the first gold medal awarded at Tokyo 2020.

At 10:30, Team GB’s men’s hockey players begin their Olympic campaign against South Africa.

Earlier, from 00:30-04:30, rowing’s second morning of heats sees Helen Glover and Polly Swann in the women’s pair. Double Olympic champion Glover won coxless pairs gold at London 2012 and Rio 2016, then spent four years away from elite rowing before completing what she once called a “highly unlikely” comeback.

World watch

3×3 basketball – three-a-side basketball played on a court with one hoop – makes its Olympic debut on Saturday. Latvia and Serbia are among the big-hitters in the men’s tournament. The women’s event is your only chance to see Mongolia in a team sport at Tokyo 2020.

From 03:00, the Olympic tennis tournament begins. Depending on the order of play, Saturday or Sunday will be your first opportunity to see superstar Naomi Osaka take to the court for hosts Japan in the women’s singles.

In women’s hockey, Ireland play South Africa from 13:15. It’s the first time Ireland’s women have qualified for the Olympic hockey tournament.

Expert knowledge

The cycling road race route takes in some of the slopes of Mount Fuji, which hosts a 14-kilometre climb as the race moves toward its climax. The race finishes at the Fuji Speedway, where James Hunt won the 1976 F1 World Championship. The route in general is considered mountainous and favours climbers, while heat could be a factor, too. Average daily July highs in Tokyo are about 30C.

Sunday, 25 July – day two

Medal events: 18

Archery (women’s team), cycling (women’s road race), diving (women’s 3m synchro), fencing (women’s foil, men’s epee), judo (women’s -52kg, men’s -66kg), shooting (women’s 10m air pistol, men’s 10m air rifle), skateboarding (men’s street), swimming (men’s 400m medley, men’s 400m free, women’s 400m medley, women’s 4×100 free relay), taekwondo (women’s -57kg, men’s -68kg), weightlifting (men’s 61kg, men’s 67kg).

Highlights

Jade Jones goes for her third Olympic taekwondo title on Sunday. Expect the climax at about 13:00. Jones in the -57kg class and China’s Wu Jingyu in the -49kg class are each trying to become the first three-time Olympic taekwondo champions, in a sport that has been bumped up the Olympic schedule to the first week because of its massive Asian audience.

Meanwhile, Jones’ GB team-mate Bradly Sinden is going for Olympic taekwondo gold number one. The 22-year-old won a world title in his -68kg category in Manchester two years ago.

Lizzie Deignan leads Team GB’s hopes in the women’s cycling road race (05:00-09:30), where she’ll be racing with team-mate Anna Shackley. The Dutch team, led by Annemiek van Vleuten and 2012 Olympic champion Marianne Vos – both four-time Olympians – will take some stopping.

In the pool, the first medal events see Japan’s Daiya Seto go for gold in the men’s 400m individual medley (02:30-04:20). He has three world titles to his name in the event but could only finish third at Rio 2016. Also keep an eye on GB’s Max Litchfield.

Brit watch

Chelsie Giles makes her Olympic debut in Tokyo competing in judo’s women’s -52kg (03:00-11:50). She has Grand Slam gold and silver under her belt this year heading into the Olympic event.

In canoe slalom, Kimberley Woods (women’s K1) and Adam Burgess (men’s C1) have their heats from 05:00 to 08:45.

Archers Sarah Bettles, Naomi Folkard and Bryony Pitman go for women’s team gold from 01:30 till 09:25, having won world bronze together two years ago in an event normally dominated by Asian nations.

Sunday’s hockey schedule sees GB’s women play Germany at 01:30.

In diving, Grace Reid and Katherine Torrance are Britain’s contenders for 3m synchro gold.

World watch

One of the biggest names in the world of skateboarding, Nyjah Huston, is expected to star on the sport’s Olympic debut in the men’s street contest (01:00-06:00). Huston, from the US, has four world titles and more than a dozen X Games golds in the discipline.

Meanwhile, one of the biggest names in the world of sport will make her first appearance at Tokyo 2020. Simone Biles, the most decorated US gymnast of all time, will lead her team in women’s qualifying (02:00-14:00). So far, the 24-year-old has four Olympic titles and a bronze medal to her name. All four of Britain’s female artistic gymnasts are making their Olympic debuts: Alice Kinsella, Amelie Morgan, and twin sisters Jennifer and Jessica Gadirova.

Don’t expect fireworks between China’s Sun Yang and Australia’s Mack Horton in the men’s 400m freestyle, after Horton called Sun a “drug cheat” at Rio 2016 then refused to share a podium with him in 2019 – neither of them made it to Tokyo. Sun is serving a ban for breaking anti-doping rules while Horton failed to make the Australian team in the event.

Caeleb Dressel will be constantly compared to Michael Phelps at these Olympics. With Phelps now out of the picture, Dressel stands to become Team USA’s next Olympic star in the pool. He won two relay golds at Rio 2016 and has added 13 world titles to his name since then. Tokyo’s swimming schedule runs in reverse formation – finals in the morning, heats for subsequent events in the evening local time – so watch for Dressel in the men’s 4x100m freestyle relay heats at about 13:00.

Expert knowledge

Surfing appears in Sunday’s schedule, but with an asterisk: it all depends on wave conditions. Organisers have put four backup days in the calendar as the sport makes its Olympic debut. All being well, Sunday will feature the first and second rounds of both the men’s and women’s events. (No British surfers qualified for Tokyo 2020.)

There are two types of skateboarding on show at this year’s Olympics: street and park. Street involves urban features like stairs, rails, walls, slopes and benches. Park uses a curved course to encourage mid-air tricks.

Monday, 26 July – day three

Medal events: 21

Archery (men’s team), artistic gymnastics (men’s team), canoe slalom (men’s C1), cycling (men’s cross-country mountain bike), diving (men’s 10m synchro), fencing (women’s sabre, men’s foil), judo (women’s -57kg, men’s -73kg), shooting (women’s skeet, men’s skeet), skateboarding (women’s street), swimming (women’s 100m fly, men’s 100m breast, women’s 400m free, men’s 4x100m free relay), table tennis (mixed doubles), taekwondo (women’s -67kg, men’s -80kg), triathlon (men), weightlifting (women’s 55kg).

Highlights

Just after 03:00, Adam Peaty embarks on his mission to complete five years of total domination in the men’s 100m breaststroke. He has set world record after world record and won two world titles since his gold medal at Rio 2016 – can he sew up Tokyo gold to go with it?

It wasn’t to be for another of Team GB’s Rio 2016 champions. Alistair Brownlee was not selected for the British triathlon team in Tokyo, but that creates an opportunity for younger brother Jonny Brownlee, who has twice finished behind his brother on the podium, in London and Rio. The men’s triathlon actually begins late on Sunday evening UK time (22:30), finishing just before 01:00 in a bid to beat Tokyo’s heat by staging a morning race.

At the diving pool, Tom Daley starts his fourth Olympics. He’s paired with Olympic debutant Matty Lee in the men’s 10m synchro event, in which Daley won bronze with Daniel Goodfellow in Rio five years ago. The final runs from 07:00 to 08:00.

Britain’s gymnasts finished fourth in the men’s team event in Rio, edged off the podium by Japan, Russia and China. Japan will hope to successfully defend that title on Monday (11:00-14:10) but the event won’t feature the legendary Kohei Uchimura, who will appear at these Olympics as an individual but isn’t in the squad for the team event.

The lone Team GB fencer at Tokyo 2020 is Marcus Mepstead. On Monday, he has an outside chance of a medal in the men’s foil event (01:00-08:20). Mepstead won world silver in the event two years ago.

Brit watch

In taekwondo, Britain’s representative in the women’s -67kg is Lauren Williams (02:00-14:30, two sessions). Williams has two European titles to her name but was defeated by Croatia’s Matea Jelic in this year’s European final.

Adam Burgess will hope to be involved in the first canoe slalom medal racing of Tokyo 2020. C1 class semi-finals begin at 06:00 with medals decided closer to 08:00.

Tom Pidcock will be aiming for gold in the men’s mountain bike cross country (07:00-09:00). The 21-year-old, who has also shone on the road this season, has recovered from a broken collarbone.

There’s no Olympic football on Monday but rugby sevens kicks into gear with Britain’s men playing twice, first against Canada after 01:00 then against hosts Japan after 08:30. Team GB will be favourites in each of those games. Overall, the likes of New Zealand, Fiji and South Africa will be hoping to win the tournament.

In hockey, Britain’s men and women are both in action. The GB men play Canada at 03:45 and the women face South Africa at 10:30.

Rowing reaches the semi-final stage in the double sculls and quarter-finals in the single sculls (01:00-03:20).

World watch

It’s not all Peaty in the pool. The women’s 400m freestyle final, which follows immediately after Peaty’s final at about 03:20, could ignite the Tokyo rivalry between Australia’s Ariarne Titmus and American great Katie Ledecky. Titmus handed Ledecky her first defeat over this distance at a major event in the 2019 World Championships. This is not Ledecky’s signature event – which is over 800m – so Monday may be Titmus’ best chance of victory.

Skateboarding moves to the women’s street event (01:00-05:55), where Brazilian five-time X Games champion Leticia Bufoni will be one of the biggest names. If you’re waiting for Sky Brown, who’ll make her Team GB debut having barely turned 13, her park event doesn’t take place until 4 August, though the street event has equally young competitors from other nations.

Table tennis adds an Olympic mixed doubles event for the first time (medal matches 12:00-14:10). That may be good news for China, winners of 28 out of 32 gold medals since table tennis was introduced to the Games in 1988. Sixteen teams will try to win the first-ever mixed doubles gold, but Britain won’t be among them.

Expert knowledge

The course for the mountain bike cross-country event (men’s event 07:00-09:00) has been hailed as one of the most beautiful, diverse and challenging ever created at an Olympics. Watch out for a stunning TV shot that shows riders “jumping” over Mount Fuji using a camera mounted at just the right angle.

Tuesday, 27 July – day four

Medal events: 22

Artistic gymnastics (women’s team), canoe slalom (women’s K1), cycling (women’s cross-country mountain bike), diving (women’s 10m synchro), equestrian (dressage team), fencing (women’s team epee), judo (women’s -63kg, men’s -81kg), rowing (women’s quad sculls, men’s quad sculls), shooting (10m air rifle mixed team, 10m air pistol mixed team), softball, swimming (men’s 200m free, women’s 100m back, men’s 100m back, women’s 100m breast), taekwondo (women’s +67kg, men’s +80g), triathlon (women), weightlifting (women’s 59kg, women’s 64kg).

Highlights

Team GB head into the women’s triathlon (22:30 Monday to 01:00 Tuesday) with one of the world’s strongest line-ups: Rio bronze medallist Vicky Holland, 2020 world champion Georgia Taylor-Brown and 2019 world silver medallist Jess Learmonth. Bermuda’s Flora Duffy is likely to be one of the trio’s main rivals.

Bianca Walkden competes for Britain in taekwondo’s women’s +67kg category (02:00-14:30), having added two more world titles to her name since taking bronze at Rio 2016. She also won European gold in April. Meanwhile, Mahama Cho beat Lutalo Muhammad to selection for Team GB in the men’s +80kg class, which also takes place on Tuesday.

Duncan Scott will be one of GB’s busiest swimmers, with six different events to his name in Tokyo. On Tuesday, he’ll hope to line up in the men’s 200m freestyle final (02:45). He picked up world bronze in the event in 2019.

At Tokyo’s Ariake Gymnastics Centre, one of the Olympics’ biggest TV audiences will be expected for the women’s team final (11:45-14:10). There’s no question that the United States, led by Simone Biles, are the favourites. Can Britain, sixth at the last World Championships, make it into the final and find a way to challenge for a medal?

Brit watch

Team GB’s final women’s football group game is against Canada at 12:00. In a tricky group also featuring hosts Japan, it could be make-or-break for qualification from the group stage.

At 09:30, Britain’s dressage riders will hope to challenge for medals in the team final. The three-person team for Tokyo ranges from 54-year-old Carl Hester, competing at his sixth Olympics, to 25-year-old Charlotte Fry making her debut. Charlotte Dujardin, who turns 36 just before the Olympics, will be looking to add to her three Olympic titles.

Sarah Davies, who picked up a European silver medal in Moscow three months ago, competes in weightlifting’s 64kg category from 11:50 to 14:00.

In diving, the women’s 10m synchro event (07:00-08:00) features GB’s Eden Cheng and Lois Toulson. They won the European title together in 2018, when Cheng was just 15 years old.

The women’s K1 canoe slalom final (06:00-09:00) could feature GB’s Kimberley Woods.

Rowing reaches its first finals: the women’s and men’s quadruple sculls (00:30-04:00). Team GB has crews in each event who, while not leading medal prospects, could be contenders in fields that are fairly open.

In hockey, Britain’s men face Germany at 02:00, while in rugby sevens Team GB face Fiji before the knockout games begin.

World watch

It won’t just be Brits watching the men’s 200m freestyle final (02:45) with interest. Japan’s Katsuhiro Matsumoto took world silver in the event in 2019 and the winner that day, China’s Sun, is serving a suspension during Tokyo 2020. That could clear a path for Matsumoto, who lowered his Japanese record earlier this year, although Britain’s Scott has since gone faster.

Later on Tuesday (1200-14:30), the hosts will hope to have involvement in the Olympic softball final. Japan stunned the United States by winning the last Olympic softball final 3-1 in 2008 – the US had won all three Olympic titles leading up to that.

Expert knowledge

Zambia are the lowest-ranked team in the Olympic women’s football tournament at 104th, just below the likes of Tahiti and the Cook Islands. Having upset Cameroon to earn a place at Tokyo 2020, the Copper Queens take on Brazil (seventh in the world) in the group stage at 12:30 on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Angola’s women’s handball team have maintained an impressive streak of appearances in a sport dominated by European nations. Tokyo is Angola’s seventh consecutive Olympic women’s handball appearance (they’re also the African champions having beaten Cameroon, who aren’t faring well in this section of the guide, earlier this year). They play Norway at 11:30.

Wednesday, 28 July – day five

Medal events: 23

Artistic gymnastics (men’s all-around), basketball (women’s 3×3, men’s 3×3), cycling (women’s time trial, men’s time trial), diving (men’s 3m synchro), equestrian (dressage individual), fencing (men’s team sabre), judo (women’s -70kg, men’s -90kg), rowing (women’s double sculls, men’s double sculls, women’s four, men’s four), rugby sevens (men’s), surfing (women’s, men’s), swimming (women’s 200m free, men’s 200m fly, women’s 200m medley, women’s 1500m free, men’s 4x200m free), weightlifting (men’s 73kg).

Highlights

Britain’s men have won the Olympic coxless four contest on the past five occasions. This time, the quartet of Sholto Carnegie, Oliver Cook, Rory Gibbs and Matthew Rossiter enter having placed third at the past two World Championships. But the boats ahead of them changed each time, so the field could still be wide open. The race is scheduled for 02:10.

The men’s rugby sevens tournament reaches the medal matches (08:30-11:00). Team GB took silver five years ago after losing to Fiji in the 2016 Olympic final, while Japan finished fourth. The hosts will be hoping to reach the podium this time around.

Road cycling returns to the Fuji Speedway for the men’s and women’s time trials (03:30-09:40). Geraint Thomas could be Britain’s best hope of a medal. He races alongside Tao Geoghegan Hart in the men’s event, while Anna Shackley competes for GB in the women’s event.

Jack Laugher and new partner Daniel Goodfellow will try to retain the men’s 3m synchro diving title Laugher won with Chris Mears in Rio five years ago. Laugher and Goodfellow were silver medallists behind China at the 2019 world championships. Diving begins at 07:00.

Can a new horse carry GB’s Charlotte Dujardin to more Olympic glory? Tokyo is her first Olympics with Mount St John Freestyle, aka Mrs Valegro. Dujardin will be attempting to win a third successive individual dressage Olympic title (09:30-13:25).

Charlotte Dujardin has won three gold medals and one silver medal, making her Great Britain’s most successful Olympic equestrian

Brit watch

At the pool, it’s men’s 4x200m freestyle relay time. The final is due off just after 04:20. Britain, the 2017 world champions, finished fifth at the last world championships in 2019, but barely more than a second split the top five teams.

Gemma Howell, a 2018 European bronze medallist, competes on Wednesday in the women’s judo -70kg category (03:00-11:50).

In hockey, Britain’s women face India (02:00) followed by Ireland against Germany. India’s women knocked out the US in qualifying to reach the Olympic hockey tournament for only the third time, after 1980 and 2016. England, the highest-ranked of the home nations, are fifth in hockey’s women’s world rankings, while India are ninth.

World watch

Team USA’s Katie Ledecky may find herself in not one but two finals on Wednesday: the women’s 200m freestyle (02:42) and 1500m freestyle (03:51). The shorter of those distances could well be another battle against Australia’s Ariarne Titmus. Ledecky won the 200m in Rio and has three world titles over 1500m.

The men’s all-around gymnastics final (11:15-14:10) was won by Japan’s Kohei Uchimura in 2016 but he’s focusing on the individual high bar contest this year, which clears the way for a new champion. Max Whitlock was the bronze medallist for Team GB five years ago but won’t be taking on this event. Joe Fraser – making his Olympic debut this year – was the highest-placed Briton at the last world championships, finishing eighth. Russian Nikita Nagornyy, who won the all-around among three world titles in 2019, is a leading contender for gold.

With softball over, baseball begins. The opening game sees Japan host the Dominican Republic at 04:00. The 24-strong Dominican Republic baseball squad makes up almost half of the nation’s Olympic team. It’s the first time they’ve reached an Olympic baseball tournament since 1992, although the sport wasn’t contested in London or Rio. Japan, which has a thriving domestic baseball scene, has only once reached the Olympic baseball final, losing to Cuba in 1996.

If the weather and waves have been kind, this will be medal day in men’s and women’s surfing. Japan’s Kanoa Igarashi has a sentimental connection to the venue, Tsurigasaki Beach – it’s where his dad did a lot of surfing, growing up, before the family moved to the United States. Carissa Moore is considered a gold-medal contender for the US in the women’s event.

Expert knowledge

3×3 basketball concludes on Wednesday. Though the US usually places great emphasis on Olympic basketball – think of the Dream Team in 1992 – Team USA failed to qualify for the men’s contest, the first time the US has ever missed out on an Olympic basketball event.

3×3 uses modified basketball rules. There are two teams of three people, one hoop, a 12-second shot clock, and the game ends either after 10 minutes or when a team reaches 21 points. You score one point for making a basket, or two if you shoot successfully from beyond the arc.

Thursday, 29 July – day six

Medal events: 17

Artistic gymnastics (women’s all-around), canoe slalom (women’s C1), fencing (women’s team foil), judo (women’s -78kg, men’s -100kg), rowing (men’s pair, women’s pair, men’s lightweight double sculls, women’s lightweight double sculls), shooting (women’s trap, men’s trap), swimming (men’s 800m free, men’s 200m breast, women’s 200m fly, men’s 100m free, women’s 4x200m free relay), table tennis (women’s singles).

Highlights

Helen Glover could, after four years away from the sport, return to the top step of a rowing podium on Thursday if she and Polly Swann win the women’s pair (01:30). They’re this year’s European champions, so it’s definitely achievable. Glover is going for her third Olympic title.

In a repeat of the Rio final, Britain’s women’s hockey team play the Netherlands at 11:00. Team GB pulled off a stunning victory in 2016 with goalkeeper Maddie Hinch the penalty shoot-out hero. The Dutch, considered the best team in the world this year, will want revenge. (Coincidentally, Britain’s men also play the Netherlands in hockey on Thursday at 04:15, which could be a key group game.)

If she wins the women’s all-around final (11:50-14:05), Simone Biles would become the first woman in more than half a century to retain that gymnastics title at the Olympics. Even for an athlete already considered the finest her sport may have ever seen, that would be some achievement. It’s hard to see who stands in her way.

GB’s Mallory Franklin, the 2017 world champion in the women’s C1 slalom canoe, will hope to go for gold in the event’s Olympic final at the Kasai Canoe Slalom Centre (06:00-08:45).

Brit watch

The men’s 200m breaststroke final (02:45) could be an opportunity for Ross Murdoch and James Wilby, both have European medals in the event. It might, though, turn into a celebration for the hosts if 20-year-old Shoma Sato, who has been smashing Japanese national records this year, maintains his form. Commonwealth champion Alys Thomas has a shot in the women’s 200m butterfly (03:27).

Beyond the women’s pair, look out for the GB lightweight women’s double scull at the rowing (02:10). Emily Craig and Imogen Grant were the world bronze medallists in 2019.

At the shooting, trap finals day (01:00-08:55) sees three Brits in action. Matthew Coward-Holley and Aaron Heading are in the men’s event, while Kirsty Hegarty is Team GB’s representative in the women’s event. Coward-Holley is the 2019 world champion – the first Briton to win a world title in an individual Olympic shotgun discipline.

Women’s sevens begins (01:00-11:30) with GB facing the Russian Olympic Committee’s team, then New Zealand. Both will be tough games but New Zealand, in particular, may be hard to beat after a dominant 2020.

The mayhem that is BMX racing begins on Thursday (02:00-04:00). Kye Whyte and 2017 junior world champion Beth Shriever are GB’s competitors.

World watch

Potential successor to Michael Phelps’ crown Caeleb Dressel should be back for the US in the 100m freestyle final (03:35). Rio champion Kyle Chalmers, of Australia, has had injury trouble but delivered his fastest time in two years in the run-up to the Games.

Ireland have a medal hope in rowing’s men’s lightweight double sculls (01:50). Paul and Gary O’Donovan won the nation’s first-ever Olympic rowing medal by taking silver behind France in the event at Rio 2016. Paul is back for Tokyo 2020 with new partner Fintan McCarthy.

Women’s singles table tennis often means an all-Chinese final, but nations can now only enter two athletes each, so the bronze-medal match has taken on more meaning. In Rio, after that change took effect, it meant a medal for North Korea’s Kim Song-I – one of only three North Korean medals that came from sports other than weightlifting. Ding Ning, China’s 2016 women’s singles champion, won’t be returning for Tokyo 2020 but China still have the world number one and two heading into the event (medal games 12:00-14:10).

In the past, two of the 12 fencing events had to miss out at each Olympics. In Rio, women’s team foil was one of those left off the schedule. This year, in a change, all 12 are on the list and Thursday marks the return of women’s team foil after nine years (02:50-13:30). Italy are the reigning Olympic champions from 2012, while Russia are the world champions heading into the event.

Expert knowledge

Thursday is day one of four for men’s Olympic golf at Kasumigaseki Country Club, 40 minutes north of Tokyo. The club’s East Course was first designed in 1929 then overhauled five years ago in preparation for the Olympics, primarily to add length to the course ready for the world’s top golfers. First-round play begins at 23:30 on Wednesday UK time, running through till 08:00 on Thursday.

Friday, 30 July – day seven

Medal events: 21

Archery (women’s individual), athletics (men’s 10,000m), badminton (mixed doubles), canoe slalom (men’s K1), cycling (women’s BMX racing, men’s BMX racing), fencing (men’s team epee), judo (women’s +78kg, men’s +100kg), rowing (women’s single sculls, men’s single sculls, women’s eight, men’s eight), shooting (women’s 25m pistol), swimming (women’s 200m breast, men’s 200m back, women’s 100m free, men’s 200m medley), table tennis (men’s singles), tennis (men’s doubles), trampoline (women’s final).

Highlights

Athletics begins in Tokyo with men’s high jump and discus qualifying alongside the early rounds of the women’s 800m, men’s 400m hurdles, and women’s 100m – meaning a chance to see GB’s world silver medallist Dina Asher-Smith in action (03:40-04:30).

The final day of rowing brings an opportunity for the British men’s eight to repeat their Rio performance, where they capped off the week with a superb gold medal. That may not be easy to replicate: the Brits were only third at the 2019 world championships. Events get under way at 00:45 and run until 02:55, including Vicky Thornley in the women’s single sculls. The US could win a fourth consecutive gold in the women’s eight.

Women’s football reaches the quarter-final stage with games at 09:00, 10:00, 11:00 and 12:00.

Trampoline was the source of a surprise British medal in 2016 when Bryony Page sprang into second place. This year’s women’s event (05:00-07:30) sees Page, the first Briton ever to win an Olympic trampoline medal, joined by Laura Gallagher.

Brit watch

Athletics may be under way but there’s no Mo Farah – the London and Rio 10,000m champion won’t appear in the event in Tokyo (12:40-13:10) after failing to hit the British selection time in June. Mark Scott and Sam Atkin have been chosen to run for Team GB.

Speaking of missing Rio champions, Joe Clarke was not selected for Tokyo 2020 so won’t be able to defend his 2016 Olympic canoe slalom K1 title. Bradley Forbes-Cryans, a 2018 world champion alongside Clarke and Christopher Bowers in the K1 team event, races for GB instead (06:00-09:00).

In swimming, British hopes on Friday include Luke Greenbank, a 2019 world bronze medallist in the men’s 200m backstroke (02:40) and Freya Anderson, who’ll be trying to reach the women’s 100m freestyle final (03:25).

Eventing begins with two days of individual and team dressage (00:30-12:10). Laura Collett, Tom McEwen and Oliver Townend make up a British team hoping to change things after Team GB missed out on medals in 2016.

In judo, GB’s Sarah Adlington finally makes her Olympic debut after near-misses for London and Rio. She competes in the women’s +78kg category (09:00-11:50) after being handed an entry through a continental quota place.

Pat McCormack, who lost a 2019 world title fight by a split decision, will hope to be in action as the men’s welterweight division is among boxing events reaching their quarter-finals on Friday (03:00-12:10).

Women’s rugby sevens also reaches the quarter-finals after Britain play Kenya (01:00-11:30).

In hockey, GB’s men face Belgium at 13:15. Ireland’s women play India at 03:45.

Men’s golf enters its second round (23:30 Thursday to 08:00 Friday), featuring GB’s Paul Casey and Tommy Fleetwood. Fleetwood is a late replacement for Tyrrell Hatton, who withdrew in June.

World watch

Daiya Seto, the men’s 200m individual medley world champion, will look to turn that into an Olympic title on Friday (03:10) after a year in which his personal life – and admission of an affair – has made headlines in his home country, Japan. He’ll expect to face Michael Andrew, who’s now the third-fastest American over the 200m medley distance after Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte.

BMX racing medals will be given out (02:00-04:20). GB’s Kye Whyte was fifth at the 2019 world championships. The US will, however, be looking to Connor Fields – the defending Olympic champion – to lead a sweep of the men’s and women’s races. Colombian two-time Olympic gold medallist Mariana Pajon stands in the way of American Alise Willoughby in the women’s event.

The first tennis medals to be decided will come in men’s doubles on Friday (04:00-12:00) while the men’s singles event reaches the semi-final stage. The top-ranked men’s doubles pairing in the world are Croatia’s Mate Pavic and Nikola Mektic.

Expert knowledge

China’s grasp on the badminton medal table could be slipping. Mixed doubles pair Zheng Si Wei and Huang Ya Qiong are considered favourites to win Olympic gold in Tokyo, but Japan – which started making inroads into China’s dominance in 2016 – could challenge them on home soil through Watanabe Yuta and Higashino Arisa. Japan were only one medal away from equalling China’s badminton success in Rio five years ago. Meanwhile, GB’s Marcus Ellis and Lauren Smith are considered possible contenders for a medal (01:00-13:30).

Saturday, 31 July – day eight

Medal events: 21

Archery (men’s individual), athletics (men’s discus, mixed 4x400m relay, women’s 100m), badminton (men’s doubles), fencing (women’s team sabre), judo (mixed team), rugby sevens (women), sailing (women’s RS:X, men’s RS:X), shooting (trap mixed team, women’s 50m rifle 3 positions), swimming (men’s 100m fly, women’s 200m back, women’s 800m free, mixed 4x100m medley relay), tennis (women’s singles), trampoline (men), triathlon (mixed relay), weightlifting (men’s 81kg, men’s 96kg).

Highlights

Dina Asher-Smith will be hoping to line up for Britain in the final of the women’s 100m (13:50), an event in which she won world silver behind Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce in 2019. Sha’Carri Richardson, fastest over 100m at US Olympic trials in June, will miss the race through a 30-day suspension related to cannabis use. Also watch out for the new 4x400m mixed relay (13:35), where the US are world champions and Britain finished fourth in 2019.

Dina Asher Smith is the fastest British women in recorded history and was part of the 4x100m relay team that won bronze in Rio 2016

Triathlon’s mixed relay makes its Olympic debut in Tokyo on Saturday (23:30 Friday until 01:30 Saturday UK time). Two men and two women on each team must in turn swim for 300m, cycle for eight kilometres, then run for two kilometres. The whole thing is over in less than 90 minutes. GB were third at the latest world championship.

The women’s singles final could be a huge moment for host-nation hero Naomi Osaka if she makes it that far. Serena and Venus Williams are among the names not competing in the Olympic tournament and that may make Osaka’s route easier. Expect one of Japan’s biggest moments at their home Games if she reaches Saturday’s final (04:00-12:00 alongside other matches).

Women’s sevens concludes on Saturday. Britain’s women were fourth in Rio five years ago, losing to New Zealand then Canada as they narrowly missed the podium. There’s action from 01:00 until 11:00.

Brit watch

It’s a big day for mixed relays. In the pool, the 4x100m mixed medley relay promises to deliver a thrilling start to the day at 03:35. Britain were the 2019 world bronze medallists in this event, behind Australia and the United States. Ben Proud is likely to feature for GB in the men’s 50m freestyle semi-finals just beforehand.

In shooting, Seonaid McIntosh takes on an event where she has demonstrated she can win major international titles: the women’s 50m rifle 3 positions (04:00-09:10), where competitors shoot while kneeling, then lying down, and finally while standing. Meanwhile, the mixed trap team event will feature GB’s three trap shooters, who have the calibre to be medal contenders (01:00-06:50).

World watch

The men’s football tournament reaches the quarter-final stage with games at 09:00, 10:00, 11:00 and 12:00.

Five years ago, the men’s discus brought a Harting-to-Harting moment in Rio. For the first time in Olympic history, one brother succeeded another as champion of the same event when Germany’s Christoph Harting won gold, four years after brother Robert Harting did the same. Christoph has barely competed over the past couple of years and his brother has retired, so there may be a parting from Harting in 2021. The final runs from 12:15 to 13:25.

Not wanting to miss out on all the mixed action, judo launches its mixed team event on Saturday (03:00-11:50). This is new for Tokyo 2020 and involves teams of six athletes – your team has to win at least 4-2 against the other nation to progress. A 3-3 draw means a ‘golden score’ contest to find a winner.

Expert knowledge

The first sailing medals of Tokyo 2020 are decided on Saturday in the RS:X windsurfing class. Tom Squires is racing for GB in the men’s event. In the women’s racing, 22-year-old Emma Wilson will have to finish fifth or higher to be the best Olympic windsurfer in her own family. Her mum, Penny, finished sixth at Barcelona 1992 and seventh in Atlanta four years later.

Sunday, 1 August – day nine

Medal events: 25

Artistic gymnastics (men’s floor, women’s vault, men’s pommel horse, women’s uneven bars), athletics (women’s shot put, men’s high jump, women’s triple jump, men’s 100m), badminton (women’s singles), cycling (women’s BMX freestyle, men’s BMX freestyle), diving (women’s 3m springboard), fencing (men’s team foil), golf (men), sailing (laser radial women, laser men), swimming (men’s 50m free, women’s 50m free, men’s 1500m free, women’s 4x100m medley relay, men’s 4x100m medley relay), tennis (men’s singles, women’s doubles, mixed doubles), weightlifting (women’s 76kg).

Highlights

For the first time since 2004, a men’s 100m final (13:50) will take place at the Olympics without Usain Bolt. Who will provide the drama this time? The US has Noah Lyles though he may be an even better bet over 200m, where he’s the world champion. Canada’s Andre de Grasse finished third in Rio. Bolt himself thinks Trayvon Bromell, who won US Olympic trials, is the favourite. Zharnel Hughes is set to lead the British bid for a medal alongside Reece Prescod and Chijindu Ujah. Christian Coleman, the reigning world champion, is banned.

In gymnastics there are two finals where Brits took gold five years ago: the men’s floor (09:00) and men’s pommel horse (10:30), both won by Max Whitlock in 2016. Whitlock is the world champion on pommel horse, while Ireland’s Rhys McClenaghan will be in Tokyo after winning world bronze in the same event two years ago. The women’s vault (09:45) is one of the Olympics’ more spectacular events – expect fireworks from Simone Biles.

Earlier in the day, expect the return of Adam Peaty as Britain try to turn their men’s 4x100m medley relay world title into an Olympic gold (03:30). Their nearest challengers in 2019 were the United States and Russia. From 02:30 watch the 50m freestyle finals to see the world’s fastest sprinters in a one-length sprint for glory, possibly featuring GB’s Ben Proud and Anna Hopkin.

Adam Peaty won gold in the 100m breaststroke at the Rio 2016 Olympics and is the current world record holder in the 50m and 100m breaststroke events

The men’s singles final leads a packed day of tennis (04:00-12:00) with the women’s doubles and mixed doubles finals also to come.

It’s also the final round of the men’s golf tournament (result expected around 08:00). Hideki Matsuyama, the first Japanese player to win the Masters, is a home favourite. Of the world’s top 10, only Dustin Johnson won’t be playing in Tokyo.

Brit watch

The women’s shot put final, beginning at 02:35, will feature Britain’s Sophie McKinna, who set a new indoor personal best at the start of this year.

BMX freestyle (02:10-04:50) is new for Tokyo 2020. While you’ve seen regular BMX racing at the Olympics before, the freestyle event focuses instead on a minute-long series of tricks and skills. GB’s Charlotte Worthington gave up a career as a chef to train full-time when freestyle was added to the Olympics, and she enters this event as a world bronze medallist. If 19-year-old two-time world champion Hannah Roberts wins for the US, she’ll be the first teenage woman ever to take an Olympic cycling title. GB’s men’s contender is Declan Brooks.

In sailing, the medal races take place in Laser and Laser Radial (04:00-10:00). GB’s representatives are Elliott Hanson (Laser) and Alison Young (Laser Radial), who’s trying to improve on an eighth-place finish in Rio after she broke her ankle in the build-up to those Games.

Grace Reid dives for Britain as a 2018 European champion in the 3m springboard event (07:00) alongside team-mate Scarlett Mew Jensen.

Men’s hockey reaches the quarter-final stage.

World watch

Qatar have never won an Olympic title but that could change in the men’s high jump (11:10-13:00), where the first man ever to successfully defend the high jump world title – Mutaz Barshim – will compete. Maksim Nedasekau, from Belarus, will be one of Barshim’s big rivals.

Colombia’s flagbearer, Caterine Ibarguen, will defend her Olympic triple jump title (12:20-1340) although by her own admission she hasn’t had the best of build-ups. In a Latin American duel, she’s likely to be challenged by Venezuela’s Yulimar Rojas, who has defeated Ibarguen to win the past two world titles. The world record in this event, which has stood for more than a quarter of a century, could fall.

Greco-Roman wrestling starts on Sunday (from 03:00). Wrestlers contributed two of Cuba’s five gold medals at Rio 2016, including one from Ismael Borrero in the men’s 60kg category, which leads off the Tokyo wrestling schedule. Borrero has reportedly recovered from Covid-19 to compete.

Expert knowledge

Sea Forest Park, an island of reclaimed land in Tokyo Bay, should prove a spectacular venue for the eventing cross-country stage – although the anticipated heat has already had an impact. The cross-country will run early in the Tokyo morning (23:45 Saturday to 03:10 Sunday UK time) and over a shortened course to protect the health of humans and horses. It’s not the first time that change has been made: Beijing 2008’s cross-country course was similarly shortened.

Monday, 2 August – day 10

Medal events: 22

Artistic gymnastics (men’s rings, women’s floor, men’s vault), athletics (men’s long jump, women’s 100m hurdles, women’s discus, men’s 3,000m steeplechase, women’s 5,000m), badminton (women’s doubles, men’s singles), cycling (women’s team sprint), equestrian (eventing team, eventing individual), sailing (49er FX women, 49er men), shooting (men’s 25m rapid fire pistol, men’s 50m rifle 3 positions), weightlifting (women’s 87kg, women’s +87kg), wrestling (women’s freestyle 76kg, men’s Greco-Roman 60kg, men’s Greco-Roman 130kg).

Highlights

Monday is day one inside Tokyo’s Izu Velodrome. A week of track cycling begins with qualifying in the team pursuits and the entire women’s team sprint competition (07:30-10:30). There’s no British representation in that event, where Germany and Australia are among the favourites, but both GB pursuit teams will be in action.

Eventing reaches its climax with the team and individual gold medals being awarded (09:00-14:25). Britain are current holders of the team world title although only Tom McEwen from that success is heading to Tokyo (Piggy March, also in the world gold medal-winning team, is a Tokyo alternate for Team GB). McEwen will be joined in the team event by Oliver Townend and Laura Collett.

The big athletics event of the day is the women’s 5,000m (13:40-14:00). Eilish McColgan, who recently broke Paula Radcliffe’s British record, leads Team GB’s hopes alongside Jessica Judd and Amy-Eloise Markovc. Kenya’s Hellen Obiri won the past two world titles but has never taken the 5,000m Olympic title.

Eilish McColgan shattered Paula Radcliffe’s 5,000m British women’s record, which had stood for 17 years, at a Diamond League meeting in Oslo in February

Women’s football reaches the semi-final stage with games at 09:00 and 12:00.

Brit watch

Monday’s sailing includes medal races in the women’s 49er FX and men’s 49er (04:00-10:00). Saskia Tidey, who sailed for Ireland at Rio 2016, will instead represent GB at Tokyo 2020 alongside Charlotte Dobson in the 49er FX. GB’s 49er representatives are Stuart Bithell and Dylan Fletcher, the 2017 world champions.

Emily Campbell won weightlifting’s +87kg European title only four months before her Olympic event (11:50-14:00) so she reaches Tokyo in excellent form.

Women’s hockey reaches the quarter-final stage, with games starting from 01:30 to 10:30.

In athletics heats, watch for Dina Asher-Smith in the 200m (02:30-03:20) and Laura Muir in the early stages of the 1500m (01:35-02:05).

World watch

The women’s 100m hurdles (03:50) offers a chance at redemption for Keni Harrison after a five-year wait. Harrison failed to gain selection for Team USA at Rio 2016 despite going on to break the world record just days before the Olympics. At Tokyo 2020, Harrison will lead the US challenge and can expect competition from Puerto Rico’s Jasmine Camacho-Quinn, who has set some of the year’s fastest times. Reiging world champion Nia Ali will be watching from home with her newborn son (whose father is Canadian sprinter Andre de Grasse).

Two of gymnastics‘ showpiece events are staged on Monday. The men’s rings event (09:00) is one of the Olympics’ defining images of strength as athletes perform manoeuvres while suspending themselves from a set of rings. Greece’s Eleftherios Petrounias, the Rio 2016 gold medallist, is probably the favourite but Ibrahim Colak is the reigning world champion after taking Turkey’s first gymnastics world title in 2019.

Meanwhile, the women’s floor event (09:45) is another chance for a Simone Biles masterclass. GB’s Jessica Gadirova enters Tokyo 2020 as the new European champion.

Badminton concludes with the gold medal matches in women’s doubles and men’s singles (05:00-15:00). World number one and two-time world champion Kento Momota will hope to win the men’s gold for hosts Japan in the face of stiff Chinese competition. China’s double Olympic champion Lin Dan retired last year, but Chen Long could emulate Lin in winning back-to-back titles if he adds a Tokyo victory to his Rio gold.

Expert knowledge

Artistic swimming, formerly known as synchronised swimming, begins on Monday (11:30-13:45). This and rhythmic gymnastics are the two Olympic sports in which only women compete. There’s a duet event with two athletes and a team event with eight. Swimmers are judged on technical and artistic merit and are not allowed to touch the bottom or sides of the pool. Russia have won every available Olympic gold medal in artistic swimming since Sydney 2000.

Tuesday, 3 August – day 11

Medal events: 22

Artistic gymnastics (men’s parallel bars, women’s beam, men’s horizontal bar), athletics (women’s long jump, men’s 400m hurdles, men’s pole vault, women’s hammer throw, women’s 800m, women’s 200m), boxing (women’s feather, men’s welter), canoe sprint (women’s K1 200m, men’s C2 1,000m, men’s K1 1,000m, women’s K2 500m), cycling (women’s team pursuit, men’s team sprint), diving (men’s 3m springboard), sailing (mixed Nacra 17, men’s Finn), weightlifting (men’s 109kg), wrestling (women’s freestyle 68kg, men’s Greco-Roman 77kg, men’s Greco-Roman 97kg).

Highlights

Dina Asher-Smith is back. The women’s 200m (13:50) could be part of a big day for Team GB if things go to plan. Asher-Smith is the 200m world champion but faces the daunting prospect of Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and the fastest woman over 200m in the world this year, US sprinter Gabby Thomas.

This could be Britain’s moment in the velodrome, too. Both Laura and Jason Kenny will be in action as the women’s team pursuit (09:05) and men’s team sprint (09:35) medals are decided. Laura Kenny has won the team pursuit at two Olympics in a row. Jason Kenny has won the team sprint at every Games since Beijing 2008.

Jack Laugher, by contrast, had to settle for second place in diving’s 3m springboard event in 2016. Tuesday brings his chance to go one better (07:00-08:30). At the 2019 World Championships, he led heading into the final round before ultimately picking up bronze.

There are big medal opportunities on the water for Britain, too. Giles Scott, a Rio Olympic champion, defends his title in the Finn class medal race (06:30-07:00). He’s a five-time world champion in the event. In the mixed Nacra 17 class (07:30-08:00) Britain’s John Gimson and Anna Burnet are the 2020 world champions.

Meanwhile, boxing hands out its first medals. Pat McCormack, the 2019 world silver medallist in the men’s welterweight division, will hope to reach the Tokyo final (11:05). Earlier in the day, women’s featherweight world bronze medallist Karriss Artingstall could be in action (05:05).

Brit watch

As if there weren’t enough opportunities above, Joe Fraser is a real medal threat for GB on the final day of artistic gymnastics. Fraser was the 2019 world champion on parallel bars and that final begins at 09:00. Immediately after that you can expect Simone Biles in the beam final and Japan’s Kohei Uchimura could produce something special in the very last event, the spectacular men’s horizontal bar final.

Showjumping begins (11:00-14:45) with three Britons in action: Ben Maher and Scott Brash, who each helped GB to a first showjumping team Olympic title in 60 years at London 2012, are back alongside Holly Smith for Tokyo.

On top of all that, men’s hockey reaches the semi-finals (02:30 and 11:00), which could yet involve Team GB.

World watch

The women’s 800m final (13:25) is a chance to watch Uganda’s Halimah Nakaayi, who performed a victory dance with team-mate Winnie Nanyondo after winning world gold in 2019. They were the first Ugandan women to reach a middle-distance world final. GB’s Laura Muir withdrew from the 800m to focus on the 1500m, so Keely Hodgkinson and Jemma Reekie are joined by Alexandra Bell in the British contingent.

The men’s 400m hurdles (03:20) could be one of Tokyo’s most entertaining finals as a host of stars bid to succeed Kerron Clement, who won gold in Rio but isn’t in the US team this time. Norwegian world champion Karsten Warholm is at the top of the list, having broken the 400m hurdles world record – which was 29 years old – at the start of July.

Brazil’s Thiago Braz delivered one of Rio’s defining images when he won the 2016 host nation’s only athletics gold medal in the men’s pole vault (11:20). Braz hasn’t reached a major podium since but could still be a contender in Tokyo, where the main threat is expected from Sweden’s Armand Duplantis and American Sam Kendricks.

Expert knowledge

Sport climbing makes its Olympic debut with qualification for the men’s combined event (09:00-14:40). There are three disciplines and the winner will be the athlete who performs best across all three. Speed climbing will see athletes race head-to-head to tag a buzzer at the top of a climb, bouldering means navigating sets of climbs without a rope that emphasise physical and gymnastic ability, and lead climbing will measure how far athletes get up a taller wall with each handhold earning a point. Combining those three into one event is a fairly new concept, and turns the Olympic event into a form of climbing triathlon.

Wednesday, 4 August – day 12

Medal events: 17

Artistic swimming (duet), athletics (women’s 400m hurdles, women’s 3,000m steeplechase, men’s hammer, men’s 800m, men’s 200m), boxing (men’s light-heavy), cycling (men’s team pursuit), equestrian (individual), marathon swimming (women), sailing (women’s 470, men’s 470), skateboarding (women’s park), weightlifting (men’s +109kg), wrestling (women’s freestyle 62kg, men’s Greco-Roman 67kg, men’s Greco-Roman 87kg).

Highlights

Sky Brown, born a month before the Beijing 2008 Olympics, competes in skateboarding’s park contest for GB. Born in Japan, 13-year-old Brown is a world bronze medallist in this event (she was 11 at the time). Both athletes who finished above her that day were Japanese so the host nation also expects. Watch the action from 01:00 to 05:30.

13-year-old Sky Brown will become GB’s youngest ever summer Olympian when she competes in Tokyo

It’s a few years since GB’s track cyclists won the men’s team pursuit world title (09:45-10:15), but their hold on the Olympic title has been steady since 2008. Ed Clancy, who helped Britain to Olympic pursuit gold at the past three Games, is back in the team for Tokyo. Denmark won the last world title in a world record time, while Australia are perennial contenders.

In Rio, Nick Skelton became the first Briton ever to win individual showjumping Olympic gold. (He was 58 at the time, more than four times Sky Brown’s age in Tokyo.) Skelton retired the following year but Ben Maher could be among the contenders for GB at this year’s event (11:00-13:40).

Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark took 470-class sailing silver in London then went one better in Rio four years later. Mills won the world title with new partner Eilidh McIntyre in 2019 and will be hoping Wednesday’s medal race (07:30-08:00) brings home another Olympic gold.

Brit watch

Adam Gemili was fourth in the men’s 200m (13:55) at the World Championships two years ago having led late in the race. American Noah Lyles, though, has emerged as the most likely candidate to take the title Usain Bolt won three times in a row.

The heptathlon starts on Wednesday. World champion Katarina Johnson-Thompson, who finished sixth in Rio, starts with the 100m hurdles section of the seven-discipline event at 01:35. Wednesday also features the heptathlon’s high jump, where Johnson-Thompson is at her strongest, shot put and 200m.

World bronze medallist Ben Whittaker will hope to be involved as boxing’s men’s light-heavyweight division reaches its final at 07:35. Cuba’s Arlen Lopez, who has moved division since winning middleweight gold in Rio five years ago, could be a threat.

Britain has one chance of winning a medal on climbing‘s Olympic debut: Shauna Coxsey in the women’s combined event. The world bronze medallist begins her challenge in qualifying from 09:00 to 14:40.

Women’s hockey reaches the semi-final stage, with games at 02:30 and 11:00.

World watch

The women’s golf tournament begins (23:30 on Tuesday to 08:00 on Wednesday). All three medallists from Rio are back, world number one Nelly Korda of the US will take part alongside sister Jessica, and Japan’s hopes are led by Nasa Hataoka.

On weightlifting‘s last day, we move to the heaviest weight class: the men’s +109kg (11:50-14:00). Georgia’s Lasha Talakhadze is the favourite. Talakhadze’s lift of 485kg in April this year is the highest total recorded in the sport’s history. That’s roughly the weight of an adult dromedary camel.

Expert knowledge

Marathon swimming starts with the women’s 10km race (22:30 Tuesday to 01:30 Wednesday). Organisers say a system of underwater filters will be used to ensure the water quality in the central Tokyo bay is acceptable, while the race will take place at 06:30 local time to avoid the worst of the summer heat. Look out for the backdrop of Tokyo’s Rainbow Bridge and a miniature Statue of Liberty. GB entrant Alice Dearing is set to become the first black woman to swim for Britain at the Olympics.

Thursday, 5 August – day 13

Medal events: 27

Athletics (men’s triple jump, men’s shot put, men’s 110m hurdles, men’s 20km race walk, women’s pole vault, men’s 400m, women’s heptathlon, men’s decathlon), boxing (men’s feather), canoe sprint (men’s K1 200m, women’s C1 200m, women’s K1 500m, men’s K2 1,000m), cycling (women’s keirin, men’s omnium), diving (women’s 10m platform), hockey (men), karate (women’s kata, women’s kumite -55g, men’s kumite -67kg), marathon swimming (men), skateboarding (men’s park), sport climbing (men), table tennis (women’s team), wrestling (women’s freestyle 57kg, men’s freestyle 57kg, men’s freestyle 86kg).

Highlights

Katarina Johnson-Thompson‘s two-day heptathlon quest comes to an end with the long jump (01:40-02:20), javelin (04:35-06:30) and the grand finale, the 800m (13:20). Johnson-Thompson’s build-up has been affected by her recovery from a serious Achilles injury but she’s still expected to mount a serious medal challenge. Her main rival is Rio 2016 champion Nafi Thiam of Belgium.

GB’s reigning Olympic champion Liam Heath is expected to start sprint canoeing’s men’s K1 200m final at 03:25. Heath has since added two world titles but Hungary’s Sandor Totka is shaping up to be a formidable rival.

The men’s hockey final starts at 11:00. Britain are still waiting to reach the Olympic men’s podium in this sport for the first time since winning the title in 1988. Hosts Japan have only made the final once before, in 1932 – helped that year by the fact only three teams entered in the first place.

Brit watch

Matthew Walls will ride for GB in track cycling’s omnium (07:30-10:30), after picking up world bronze last year. The omnium format has changed for Tokyo 2020: shorter sprint disciplines have been dropped and it’s now a mix of four endurance events spread over one day’s racing, including a new tempo race where riders can score points through sprints on almost every lap.

Holly Bradshaw, fourth at the last world championships and fifth in Rio, competes in the women’s pole vault (11:20-13:30). This year’s world number one is American Katie Nageotte, who should challenge Greek Rio 2016 champion Katerina Stefanidi and world champion Anzhelika Sidorova for gold.

The men’s marathon swim (which ends shortly before 01:30) will feature GB’s Hector Pardoe, who won an Olympic qualifier in Portugal to book his place. Pardoe’s training regime includes swimming 90km per week.

In boxing, world bronze medallist Peter McGrail will hope to fight for GB as the medals are decided in the men’s featherweight division (07:35).

Andrea Spendolini-Sirieix and Lois Toulson dive for GB in the women’s 10m platform event (07:00-08:30).

World watch

Ashton Eaton has retired after winning the decathlon in 2012 and 2016, so the crown in the 10-event athletics bonanza is up for grabs. Contenders include France’s Kevin Mayer, Canadian Damian Warner, German world champion Niklas Kaul and Estonia’s Maicel Uibo are all in the mix. The deciding 1500m race starts at 13:40.

Meanwhile, the men’s shot put final (03:05-04:15) will feature Ryan Crouser, the American who broke the event’s 31-year-old world record in the weeks leading up to the Games. Crouser appropriately described breaking that record as “a huge weight lifted”.

A custom-built park on Tokyo Bay will welcome the men’s park skateboarding finalists (04:30-05:20). Hawaiian Heimana Reynolds is a leading contender for gold after winning the world title in 2019, his breakthrough year. Reynolds’ favourite training technique is rock running: picking up a heavy rock then using it to run, weighed down, along the ocean floor off the coast of Hawaii.

Expert knowledge

Karate is one of the final sports to get under way in Tokyo (02:00-13:40) as it makes its Olympic debut. There are two disciplines. In kata, you compete on your own and demonstrate offensive and defensive moves against a virtual opponent. You score points for technique, timing and athleticism. In kumite, which unlike kata is divided into weight classes, you spar against rivals in a format more familiar to people who’ve seen the likes of judo or taekwondo. GB won’t have any athletes in this year’s karate events.

Friday, 6 August – day 14

Medal events: 23

Athletics (women’s 20km race walk, men’s 50km race walk, women’s javelin, men’s 5,000m, women’s 400m, women’s 1500m, women’s 4x100m relay, men’s 4x100m relay), beach volleyball (women), boxing (men’s heavy), cycling (women’s madison, men’s sprint), football (women), hockey (women), karate (men’s kata, women’s kumite -61kg, men’s kumite -75kg), modern pentathlon (women), sport climbing (women), table tennis (men’s team), wrestling (women’s freestyle 53kg, men’s freestyle 74kg, men’s freestyle 125kg).

Highlights

Women’s football reaches its Olympic final at 03:00. The United States have won four of the six Olympic women’s football tournaments, and Team GB have never reached the podium. In fairness, they’ve only entered a team once before: London 2012, where Canada beat them 2-0 in the quarter-finals. Will that record change this year? The US are the world’s number one team with Germany second heading into Tokyo 2020.

In hockey, it’s a different story. Britain clinched Olympic gold in dramatic fashion in 2016, winning a late-night penalty shootout against the Netherlands in Rio. But things haven’t been so easy for the home nations since. England, beaten 2-0 by the Netherlands in the quarter-finals of 2018’s World Cup, are now ranked fifth in the world and the Dutch have been dominant. The final takes place on Friday from 11:00.

Laura Muir has been there or thereabouts for a medal in the women’s 1500m (13:50) for years without managing to reach the podium at outdoor world or Olympic level. For Tokyo, Muir has dropped the 800m distance to focus purely on converting her 1500m potential into a medal. Kenya’s Faith Kipyegon may be difficult to dislodge from the top step of the podium – the Rio champion lowered her national record just before this year’s Games.

At the velodrome, the madison has been restored to the Olympic programme (the men’s madison was dropped after 2008, while the women’s madison is making its debut in Tokyo). The madison, which involves teams of two riders, is all about tactics and endurance. If you haven’t watched it before, you’ll probably be relying on the commentators to follow what’s happening. Katie Archibald and Laura Kenny ride in the madison for GB at 09:15.

Friday could be Shauna Coxsey’s big day after years of build-up to the Olympic debut of her sport, climbing (10:30-14:20). Expect her to excel in the speed and bouldering sections, meaning her success could depend on how she handles the lead climbing, which measures how far up a wall she can get. The big unknown is how she has recovered from a persistent back injury. Slovenia’s Janja Garnbret is widely expected to take gold.

Brit watch

Everybody loves the drama of a good 4x100m relay (14:30-14:50), the track equivalent of a penalty shootout. Names can be made, heroes and villains created in the simple passing (or not) of a baton. Britain has had a reasonable amount of relay success lately – both teams took world silver in 2019 and the men were world champions two years earlier.

In boxing, Cheavon Clarke is Britain’s heavyweight hope. Clarke competed for Jamaica at the Commonwealth Games seven years ago but has since switched allegiance, earning a European bronze medal in 2019. The heavyweight final is at 07:05.

World watch

Generally speaking, beach volleyball has been dominated at the Olympics by the United States and Brazil – both being countries where playing volleyball on a beach has a certain appeal. But that’s changing. Three of the past four world titles in the women’s event (02:00-04:50) have gone to other nations, the latest being won by Canada. Friday’s medal games will help to illuminate whether that shift in power has reached the Olympic stage.

Rhythmic gymnastics begins on Friday with individual all-around qualification (02:20-09:45). This sport is basically ‘the other gymnastics’ to British viewers used to watching only artistic gymnastics, since Britain has barely ever entered the Olympic rhythmic gymnastics, which involves routines completed with ribbons, hoops, balls and clubs to complement the performance. Russia dominates rhythmic gymnastics – this year, Dina and Arina Averina could force statisticians to look up the last time, if ever, twins took first and second place in a summer Olympic individual event.

Expert knowledge

Perennially one of the least penetrable Olympic sports, modern pentathlon’s women’s event takes place on Friday. In a nutshell, athletes swim, fence and ride a horse to end up with a points score that gives them a time handicap for a final event that’s a bit like the Winter Olympics sport of biathlon: they must run a cross-country course while occasionally shooting at targets. The first one over the line after the run wins.

The showjumping is usually a highlight as pentathlon’s rules require that the rider cannot use their own horse but instead gets supplied with one at random, sometimes with unexpected consequences. A horse named Pingping had an infamous meltdown at Beijing 2008, destroying the hopes of Belarusian rider Yahor Lapo.

Despite pentathlon’s unlikely line-up of disciplines – designed to replicate the skills a soldier might have needed a century ago – Britain has a fine pedigree in the women’s sport, with multiple Olympic medallists. Kate French and Jo Muir will compete for GB in Tokyo, and both have a shot at a medal. Events run from 06:30 to 12:15.

Saturday, 7 August – day 15

Medal events: 34

Artistic swimming (team), athletics (women’s marathon, women’s high jump, women’s 10,000m, men’s javelin, men’s 1500m, women’s 4x400m relay, men’s 4x400m relay), baseball, basketball (men), beach volleyball (men), boxing (women’s fly, men’s fly, women’s welter, men’s middle), canoe sprint (women’s C2 500m, men’s C1 1,000m, women’s K4 500m, men’s K4 500m), cycling (men’s madison), diving (men’s 10m platform), equestrian (jumping team), football (men), golf (women), handball (men), karate (women’s kumite +61kg, men’s kumite +75kg), modern pentathlon (men), rhythmic gymnastics (individual), volleyball (men), water polo (women), wrestling (women’s freestyle 50kg, men’s freestyle 65kg, men’s freestyle 97kg).

Highlights

More than 30 gold medals are available on Saturday so there’s going to be action almost anywhere you look. The men’s football final (12:30-15:00) will establish whether the gold medal is again heading to Latin or South America, having been won by Argentina twice, Mexico and Brazil at the past four Games. Hosts Japan reached the bronze-medal game in London nine years ago and will hope to do better in 2021.

Tom Daley has what is probably his last opportunity to claim the Olympic 10m platform title that has so far eluded him (07:00-08:30). A bronze medallist at London 2012, Daley has won the event’s world title twice, most recently in 2017. Daley won 10m gold at a test event for Tokyo 2020 in May.

Tom Daley became GB’s second-youngest ever Olympian at Beijing 2008 and will be competing in his fourth Olympic Games in Tokyo

Athletics features the men’s and women’s 4x400m relays (13:30-14:00). The US won both these titles at the 2019 World Championships. Britain’s women were less than a second off the podium that year – the men received a DNF after a baton handoff disaster.

It’s the final round of the women’s Olympic golf contest from 23:30 on Friday until 07:30 on Saturday. Mel Reid and Jodi Ewart Shadoff are GB’s two representatives. Reid’s world ranking has sensationally rebounded in recent years to a career high of 30th this year.

Brit watch

The men’s modern pentathlon (06:30-12:15) features Team GB’s Jamie Cooke, the 2018 world and 2019 European champion, alongside Joe Choong. However, this could be a late Valentine’s Day gift for France – Valentin Belaud and Valentin Prades both have a solid chance of taking gold.

Four boxing titles are awarded on Saturday (06:00-07:55). Among them, Charley Davison will try to win the women’s flyweight title lifted by Nicola Adams in 2012 and 2016.

Men’s madison day at the track cycling sees Ethan Hayter and Oliver Wood team up for Britain. The pair, European bronze medallists in 2018, are considered an outside bet for a medal.

Showjumping’s team event reaches its conclusion (11:00) with Ben Maher and Scott Brash hoping to replicate their roles in earning GB gold at London 2012. Holly Smith is the third team member. Switzerland have a strong shot at gold with two of the world’s leading riders, while Jessica Springsteen – daughter of singer Bruce – is in the US team.

World watch

The men’s basketball final (03:30) is ordinarily a coronation for the United States, who’ve won six of the seven Olympic titles since NBA players began competing at the Games in 1992. The fact that the gold-medal game takes place well before the bronze-medal game – to accommodate US prime-time TV – tells you everything you need to know about American confidence in their team.

The women’s marathon takes place in Sapporo, capital of the northern island of Hokkaido well away from Tokyo, after concern that Tokyo’s summer heat could prove too much for such a demanding event. Covid-19 measures will mean the unusual sight of the marathon taking place without any spectators lining the streets. Britain’s contenders are Steph Twell, Jess Piasecki and Stephanie Davis.

Handball’s men’s final takes place at 13:00. France, Denmark and Norway will all expect to be in the mix for medals in a sport dominated by European countries. France’s hopes may rest on talismanic star Nikola Karabatic’s recovery from a knee injury.

Expert knowledge

Water polo involves four eight-minute periods in which players can’t touch the pool’s sides or bottom, so must tread water throughout using a specialised eggbeater kick. The sport is big in Hungary, where the men have won Olympic gold nine times, although Hungary’s women have never reached the podium since their introduction in 2000. This year’s women’s final (08:30) could involve a resurgent Hungarian team and is very likely to feature the United States, who are dominant.

Sunday, 8 August – day 16

Medal events: 13

Athletics (men’s marathon), basketball (women), boxing (women’s light, men’s light, women’s middle, men’s super-heavy), cycling (men’s keirin, women’s sprint, women’s omnium), handball (women), rhythmic gymnastics (group), volleyball (women), water polo (men).

Highlights

Eliud Kipchoge, the defending Olympic marathon champion and world record holder, is widely expected to feature heavily in the final athletics event of Tokyo 2020 (conclusion shortly after midnight on Sunday). Kipchoge said he is “still hungry” at 36 in the build-up to these Games and dismissed concerns about the heat. He said conditions in Sapporo, some 500 miles north of Tokyo, will be the same for everyone and won’t be a factor. Callum Hawkins, Ben Connor and Chris Thompson run for GB.

The men’s super-heavyweight division wraps up boxing at Tokyo 2020 (06:00-07:55). Commonwealth champion Frazer Clarke is the British entrant but Uzbekistan’s Bakhodir Jalolov is the favourite to win gold.

From 12:00, Tokyo says goodbye to the Olympics in its closing ceremony. Exactly what form that will take depends to some degree on the pandemic and associated public health measures in Japan.

Brit watch

There are three other boxing finals on Sunday with possible British interest in all, led by 2019 world champion Lauren Price in women’s middleweight (06:00-07:55). Luke McCormack, twin brother of GB team-mate Pat, competes in the men’s lightweight division. Youth Olympic champion Caroline Dubois, one of 11 siblings, fights in the women’s lightweight event.

World watch

Lang Ping won volleyball gold as a player in 1984 then returned as coach to guide her national team, China, to the Olympic title in Rio five years ago. Nicknamed the ‘Iron Hammer’ in a subsequent documentary, Lang is back to defend that title in Tokyo. Her team could face Japan in Sunday’s women’s final (05:30), which would mean a reunion with Japan coach Kumi Nakada, another veteran of Los Angeles 1984 – she played as Japan took bronze.

Expert knowledge

Schedulers have held back the men’s keirin until the last day of the Olympics (02:00-05:15), knowing the track cycling discipline has a huge Japanese following. The keirin, where riders are paced by a motorised scooter for several laps before a sprint finish, was invented in Japan and added to the Olympics in 2000 after Japanese pressure. Chris Hoy (2008, 2012) and Jason Kenny (2016) have won the past three Olympic keirin titles for GB. Kenny or Jack Carlin could be medal contenders for Britain this time around. Meanwhile, Katy Marchant goes in the women’s sprint and Laura Kenny rides the women’s omnium.

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