Already a year-delayed, Tokyo Olympics are proving an intriguing shambles. There will be no fans, multiple athletes have already tested positive to COVID in the Olympic Village, and major sponsors like Toyota have pulled advertising from the event due to the bottoming public support for the “wildly unpopular” games.
But still, there’s sports and medals! And for an Australian population starved for small-screen distraction in lockdown, the timing’s proved incredibly convenient for our official broadcasters, the Seven Network. Bruce McAvaney, your witchcraft is mighty.
Seven’s mammoth Tokyo Olympics hosting team, led by veteran Bruce McAvaney.Credit:Seven
Where can I watch it?
Seven are going all out with their coverage. Alongside live broadcasts on their 7, 7Two and 7Mate channels, the network will also stream every sport live and free across over 40 channels on 7Plus (and the mobile app). Daily coverage will start around 5.30am on Sunrise.
Seven has exclusive broadcast rights for the Tokyo Games. But you can receive an Olympic update email each day by signing up for our Sport newsletter here and keep track of all the latest news at The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.
What’s the time difference?
Almost non-existent. Tokyo is just one-hour behind AEST, meaning much of the major events will take place in primetime viewing – a sweet respite for local sports fans who’ve spent the past month bleary-eyed amid Wimbledon and the Euros.
The must-see events (all times AEST)
1: Opening ceremony (Friday, July 23 at 8.30pm)
Even the opening ceremony, taking place at Tokyo’s National Stadium, has been rocked by controversy, with composer Keigo Oyamada, better known as indie icon Cornelius, forced to resign amid a gross bullying scandal. With about 50 Aussie athletes to march during the ceremony, led by flagbearers Patty Mills and Cate Campbell, COVID means the event is likely to lack the grandeur of the past – an interesting tone in which to open the Games.
Boomers hero Patty Mills takes on Kevin Durant.Credit:AP
2: Basketball: Men’s group match, Australia vs Nigeria (Sunday, July 25 at 6.20pm)
Led by NBA heroes Patty Mills, Joe Ingles and Matisse Thybulle, the Boomers are solid and have their best shot yet at landing an Aussie basketball medal. They launch their campaign against Nigeria, who after upsetting the US team in exhibition play earlier this month were roundly thrashed by Australia by 39 points just days later. Meanwhile the Opals’ campaign, minus Liz Cambage, begins against Belgium (Tuesday, July 27 at 6.20pm).
3: Skateboarding: Men’s street final (Sunday, July 25 at 1.25pm) and women’s street final (Monday, July 26 at 1.25pm)
Who knew all your years of playing Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater on Playstation would one day come in useful for Olympics viewing? The sport’s Olympics debut is expected to be dominated by Japanese favourite Yuto Horigome, who claimed gold at June’s world championships, but also competing is Aussie Shane O’Neill. In the women’s field, Aussie Hayley Wilson will be up against Japanese superstar Aori Nishimura.
4: Swimming: Women’s 400m freestyle final (Monday, July 26 at 12.20pm)
Australia’s 20-year-old “Terminator” Ariarne Titmus takes on American icon Katie Ledecky in the final that’s got Olympics obsessives salivating. The rivals will also likely face off in the 200m freestyle final (Wednesday, July 28 at 11.41am), the 800m freestyle final (Saturday, July 31 at 11.46am), and multiple relays.
5: Canoe slalom: Women’s kayak final (Tuesday, July 27 at 5pm) and women’s canoe final (Thursday, July 29 at 4.45pm)
Australian world champion Jess Fox, who claimed silver in London 2012 and bronze in Rio 2016 in the K1, is in the hunt for gold in both events.
6: Football: Women’s group match, Australia vs United States (Tuesday, July 27 at 6pm)
The Matildas’ pre-Olympics run has been rough to put it mildly, ranging from a 5-0 loss to the Netherlands in April to a 1-0 loss to Japan just last week. But can they turn it on against the reigning World Cup champs and current world number ones? In Sam Kerr we trust. The men’s campaign, meanwhile, kicks off against Argentina (Thursday, July 22 at 8.30pm).
7: Surfing: Women’s final (Wednesday, July 28 at 10.30am)
After winning the World Surf League’s meet at Rottnest Island in May, Aussie surfer Sally Fitzgibbons is primed to claim the Olympics’ first gold medal for surfing. Her first heats take place on Sunday, July 25 from 8am ahead of Wednesday’s medal rounds.
8: Artistic gymnastics: Women’s all-around final (Thursday, July 29 at 8.50pm)
US gymnast Simone Biles, already considered the GOAT of the discipline, will look to add more shiny jewellery to her 5-medal haul from Rio 2016. She already lit up social media in May when she debuted a “Yurchenko double pike on vault”, a move so difficult no woman had ever attempted it before in competition.
Gymnastics icon Simone Biles will be a Tokyo must-see.Credit:Ulrik Pedersen/CSM/Sipa USA
9: Athletics: Women’s 100m final (Saturday, July 31 at 10.50pm) and men’s 100m final (Sunday, August 1 at 10.50pm)
Will the most exciting 10-seconds at the Olympics remain so even without the people’s champ Usain Bolt, who retired in 2017? Probably. American Trayvon Bromell, who won at the US Olympics Trials in June with a 9.80, is favoured for the men, while Jamaican Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, who claimed gold at the 2019 World Championships with a 10.71 in her return following pregnancy, is favoured for the women.
10: Tennis: Women’s singles final (Sunday, August 1 – time TBC)
Coming off this month’s Wimbledon title, world number one Ash Barty is a good bet to win Australia’s first tennis singles medal since Alicia Molik claimed bronze in Athens 2004. However, in her way will be local fave Naomi Osaka, representing Japan.
Anything else I should know?
If you prefer your Olympics coverage with some levity, Roy & HG’s Dodging Armageddon will air each day of the Games via the ABC Listen app or weekdays at 3pm on ABC Radio.
Never miss a medal or great sporting moment with our Olympic update emailed daily. Sign up for our Sport newsletter here.
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