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They're back! In case you missed it, Tokyo hosts this year's Summer Olympics which begin Friday, July 23 and run for the next 16 days.

If the days all seemed to blend into one last year, it may come as a surprise to realize five years have passed since hundreds of the world’s best athletes burst onto our screens over the summer months for consecutive days of exciting competition.

Tokyo hosts this year’s Summer Olympics which begin Friday, July 23, and runs for the next 16 days.

Typically held every four years, the Olympics paused in 2020 due to the global pandemic. With the lack of pre-Olympic competitions to test athlete readiness and various unique training regimes required (given local restrictions), the anticipation of who will win gold, silver, and bronze — while settling some long-standing scores along the way — is building.

The Tokyo Summer Olympics will showcase more than 339 events across 39 sports. A quick pre-competition primer can help you get the most out of the summer games whether you are cheering from your couch, deck, or dock.

When and where to watch the Summer Olympics in Canada:

  • Live and taped coverage: CBC and Radio-Canada and their broadcast partners TSN, RDS, and Sportsnet will provide live and taped coverage of all the vaults, dives, flips, races, dunks, hits, and more.
  • Time zones: Japan is 16 hours ahead of Vancouver, 13 hours ahead of Toronto, and 12 hours ahead of Halifax. Now, you’ll just need to do the mental math each day to not miss your favourite events, live. Better yet, use the official Tokyo Olympics or CBC Sports apps and make it easy on yourself.
  • Opening ceremonies: Tokyo’s opening ceremonies will begin at 7 a.m. EST (4 a.m. PST) on July 23rd.
  • Prep your body and set your alarm for some early mornings while you train to stay up later in the evenings if you want to watch live events that attract the most eyeballs; swimming, gymnastics, track and field among them will typically air sometime between 1-6 am or 9 p.m. EST. Check the official Olympic Broadcast schedule to stay on top of the Games.


  • Women’s Gymnastics: Always one of the most hyped summer events thanks to geo-politics and astounding athleticism the team and individual gymnastics competitions will run from July 24 to August 1st.
  • Olympians to watch: Look for American Simone Biles, one of those most talented gymnasts ever, on the women’s side, and Japan’s Kohei Uchimura, a three-time Olympic gold medalist on the men’s, who is headed to his fourth straight Olympic Games and will have an entire host nation cheering him on.

Track and Field (July 24 to August 1)

  • Mixed-gender relays will be introduced this year making the track events a must-see, but it is the individual races that will bring the heat (literally.)
  • Olympians to watch: Canadian Damian Warner, the world’s top-ranked decathlete in his competition, and North Vancouver’s Lindsey Butterworth earned her spot in the women’s 800-metre with a time of 1:59.19. She will have stiff competition from American Athing Mu, a 19-year-old just-turned pro who qualified for the games with a time of 1:56.07, breaking a 25-year record in the process.

Swimming (July 24 to August 4)

  • Olympians to watch:
    • With the absence of Michael Phelps, watch for American Caeleb Dressel as well as Adam Peaty, Great Britain’s lap phenom. Italy, Japan, and China are also in hot pursuit of gold medals in the pool.

    • After earning gold at the 2012 London Summer Olympics, the US’s Katie Ledecky has not stopped, remaining the dominant name in each of her distances. And don’t underestimate Canada’s Kylie Masse this year who picked up a bronze at the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics.

    New competitions at the Tokyo Olympics

    Six new competitions will be included this year at the Tokyo Summer Olympics: Skateboarding, sport climbing, surfing, karate, baseball, and softball.

    The Summer Paralympic Games (August 24 to September 5)

    Sitting volleyball, wheelchair racing, swimming, wheelchair fencing, and more than 18 other Paralympic sports will be showcased at the Tokyo Paralympic Games for athletes with physical disabilities, held immediately following the Olympic Games. These talented competitors represent grit, perseverance, and determination in every sense.

    • Olympians to watch: Look for decorated US para-athlete Oksana Masters looking to add to her eight road cycling wins, and follow the Canadian women’s goalball team who are looking to add to the four medals already won in this unique Paralympic-only sport (it does not have an Olympic equivalent) played by visually impaired para-athletes.

    Never a dull moment

    Fans will be in seats. Flags will fly with each medal awarded, and many Canadians will find themselves once again drawn to watching awesomely talented athletes compete on the world stage. Another wonderful reason to celebrate life returning to normal.