The 2021 Tokyo Olympics are officially underway.
From the Parade of Nations to tennis phenom Naomi Osaka lighting the Olympic cauldron, the opening ceremony on Friday kicked off the Tokyo Summer Games.
Fans of the Olympics have waited a while for these games to take place. Originally scheduled for the summer of 2020, the games had to be moved to 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Speeches made by the Olympic Organizing Committee president and IOC president, as well as a number of dance routines, recognized the journey that everyone, including the athletes at the games, has made to be able to have the Olympics return.
Sporting News provided live updates and highlights from the opening ceremony, which kicked off live at 7 a.m. ET on July 23. Those hoping to see a replay of it later in the day can tune in at 7:30 p.m. ET on NBC.
Olympics opening ceremony live updates, highlights
10:48 a.m.: The cauldron has been lit.
10:46 a.m.: Naomi Osaka will light the Olympic cauldron.
10:38 a.m.: The Olympic Flame has arrived at the Olympic Stadium.
10:30 a.m.: All the different disciplines that will be part of the 2021 Tokyo Olympics put on display in pictograms.
10:20 a.m.: Time for the playing of the Olympic anthem and the raising of the Olympic flag.
— #Tokyo2020 (@Tokyo2020) July 23, 2021
10:14 a.m.: Japan Emperor Naruhito officially declares the 2021 Olympic Games open.
“After more than half a century, the Olympic Games have returned to Tokyo. Now we will do everything in our power to make this Games a source of pride for generations to come.”
— #Tokyo2020 (@Tokyo2020) July 23, 2021
10:01 a.m.: IOC president Thomas Bach now discussing the unifying ability of the Olympics.
9:57 a.m.: Olympic Organizing Committee president Seiko Hashimoto gives a speech to the Olympic athletes about what it is like to be gathering now for the Tokyo Games.
9:50 a.m.: Musicians joining to sing John Lennon’s “Imagine.”
9:47 a.m.: Above the Olympic Stadium, 1,824 drones form a globe in the air.
9:44 a.m.: The dance portion of the opening ceremony returns after the conclusion of the Parade of Nations.
9:33 a.m.: The host nation of Japan enters the Olympic Stadium to cap off the Parade of Nations.
9:30 a.m.: The U.S. walks out with Eddy Alvarez and Sue Bird carrying the flag.
9:30 a.m.: With the U.S. team nearly set to arrive, listen to Eddy Alvarez react to being named a flagbearer.
9:26 a.m.: As Latvia comes through, the United States is only 10 countires away from walking out in the Parade of Nations.
9:20 a.m.: The most recent host nation of the Summer Games makes its entrance at the 2021 Tokyo Games.
9:11 a.m.: The Parade of Nations continues. Belgium has begun its walk through the Olympic Stadium, the 163rd of 205 countries.
8:55 a.m.: Pita Taufatofua, the shirtless, oiled-up Tongan flag-bearer, is back at the Olympic Games.
8:45 a.m.: Luka Doncic and the Slovenian Olympic Team make their entrance in the Parade of Nations.
8:35 a.m.: A couple of Olympic stars are ready for their shot at grabbing more Olympic gold medals.
8:25 a.m.: Team USA has arrived and is preparing for the Parade of Nations. They’ve still got a ways to go, however. The Americans are third-to-last in the order. Sao Tome and Principe just entered, the 76th of the 205 nations.
8:20 a.m.: Italy and Australia have made their early entrances in the 2021 Summer Games, but they’ll soon each have their turns to go last as the two are set to host Olympic Games in the not-so-distant future.
8:09 a.m.: Canada makes its entrance to the 2021 Olympic Games.
8:02 a.m.: Some of the Team USA Gymnastics team members host their own opening ceremony. Not all Olympians are walking in during the Parade of Nations because of COVID-19 precautions.
🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸Love it! Sam Mikulak gets flagbearer honors as the Women’s and Men’s gymnastics teams from the USA hold their own private Opening Ceremony, since they won’t be able to be in the Stadium tonight. #tokyo2020 #gymnastics #olympics
🎥 Lisa Spini pic.twitter.com/Auruiq67Tc
— Inside Gymnastics (@InsideGym) July 23, 2021
7:46 a.m.: Argentina wasn’t holding back its excitement coming in for the Olympic Games.
7:39 a.m.: Greece begins the Parade of Nations, followed by the IOC Refuge Olympic Team.
7:33 a.m.: The Parade of Nations is minutes away.
7:31 a.m.: The pace of the dance has begun to pick up as the entrance of the athletes gets closer.
7:21 a.m.: Moment of silence held for those who lost their lives because of the coronavirus, as well as for the 1972 killing of Israeli Olympians and coaches by the Palestinian group Black September.
7:19 a.m.: As the flag is raised, Japan’s national anthem is performed.
7:15 a.m.: Japanese Emperor Naruhito makes his entrance at the opening ceremony. Japan’s national flag is now being walked in.
7:12 a.m.: The dance of the opening ceremony begins to show the athletes getting back to training for the Olympics.
7:06 a.m.: The ceremony inside the stadium now displaying at-home workouts as people remained isolated during the coronavirus pandemic.
7:05 a.m.: After a video showing how we got to this point, the fireworks go off around the top of the Olympic Stadium.
7 a.m.: It is time for the start of the 2021 Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony.
Opening ceremony start time
- Start time: 7 a.m. ET / 4 a.m. PT
- Rebroadcast: 7:30 p.m. ET / 4:30 p.m. PT
- Location: National Stadium, Tokyo, Japan
As will be the case for much of the 2021 Tokyo Games because of the 13-hour time difference between Tokyo and Eastern Standard Time, those hoping to see the opening ceremony will have an early wakeup call. The ceremony will begin at 7 a.m. ET on Friday, July 23, or 8 p.m. local time in Tokyo.
The ceremony arrives after some events have already begun, however, with softball and soccer, archery and rowing preliminaries already underway.
How to watch the opening ceremony
- TV channel: NBC
- Live stream: Peacock | NBCOlympics.com | fuboTV
NBC will provide complete coverage of the Olympics from start to finish over its various channels. But to watch the opening ceremony, viewers will need to tune into NBC itself at 7 a.m. ET. This marks the first time that NBC will broadcast an Olympics opening ceremony live in the morning.
Not an early bird? No worries. There will be a replay on NBC at 7:30 p.m. ET.
Here is NBC’s full broadcast schedule for Friday, July 23:
|6:55-11 a.m.||Live opening ceremony coverage|
|11 a.m.-1 p.m.||Special Olympics edition of “Today”|
|1-4 p.m.||Tokyo Olympics Daytime|
|7:30 p.m.-Midnight||Opening ceremony replay|
|12:35-1:38 a.m.||Special Olympics edition of “Tonight Show”|
How long is the Olympics opening ceremony?
Viewers will want to get settled in to watch the opening ceremony. The celebration of the start of the games is expected to last about four hours, running from 7 a.m. ET to 11 a.m. ET.
NBC and Olympics organizers have kept other details of the opening ceremony under wraps, including how many members of each nation’s delegation will be allowed to march.