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By Ryan Rosendale
While they may be here 364 days later than expected due to a global pandemic, the 2020 Tokyo Olympics are finally within sight.
With the opening ceremony just days away, here is everything you need to know about the most anticipated Olympics in history and how to cheer on our Australian athletes from the comfort of your own home.
WHEN WILL THE OLYMPICS BE HELD?
The 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games - the XXXII Olympiad - will take place between Friday 23 July to Sunday 8 August 2021.
The 17-day event will play host to 339 events across 33 sports with Miraitowa being the official mascot of the Games.
* The Paralympics will feature 22 sports at 539 events, in 21 venues, and are from August 24 to September 5 2021.
WHEN ARE THE OPENING AND CLOSING CEREMONIES?
The opening ceremony will be held on Friday 23 July at 8pm, Japan time (9pm AEST) with the closing ceremony taking place on Sunday 8 August 2021 at 8pm (9pm AEST).
WHEN ARE THE FIRST AUSTRALIAN ATHLETES COMPETING?
While the games don't officially kick off until Friday 23 July, the first Australian athletes will actually compete on Wednesday 21 July at 10am AEST when our softballers taking on Japan.
HOW MANY AUSTRALIANS ARE COMPETING IN TOKYO?
The Australian Olympic team will consist of 487 athletes with 307 making their debuts.
261 females will compete while 226 males will vie for gold with Australia represented across all 33 sports.
The number has reduced with the omissions of Alex de Minaur (COVID-19 positive) and Liz Cambage (personal reasons) both withdrawing in the past week from tennis and basketball events respectively.
WHO ARE OUR FLAG BEARERS?
Swimmer Cate Campbell and basketballer Patty Mills were announced as Australia's flag bearers last week with both having represented Australia at the Olympics previously.
WHERE CAN I WATCH THE OLYMPICS?
All 17-days of the Olympics can be seen on Channel 7 across Australia with its three channels - 7, 7TWO and 7MATE - broadcasting the events.
They will also be streamed on the 7plus app with veteran broadcaster Bruce McAvaney heading the coverage.
WHAT SPORTS WILL BE PLAYED AT THE GAMES?
As mentioned above, 33 sports will be contested across the games with four new sports - skateboarding, surfing, sport climbing and karate - making their debuts while baseball and softball with make their returns for the first time since the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
List of sports:
1. Aquatics (includes swimming, diving, synchronised swimming, water polo)
4. Baseball and softball
5. Basketball (including 3x3 basketball)
8. Cycling (includes track, road, mountain bike and BMX)
13. Gymnastics (artistic, rhythmic and trampolining)
18. Modern pentathlon
20. Rugby 7s
23. Skateboarding (men's and women's street and park skateboarding events)
24. Sport climbing (bouldering and lead and speed combined climbing)
25. Surfing (men's and women's shortboard surfing)
26. Table tennis
29. Track and field (athletics)
31. Volleyball (indoor and beach volleyball)
33. Wrestling (Greco-Roman and freestyle)
HOW MANY ATHLETES WILL BE COMPETING ACROSS THE GAMES?
In total, more than 11,500 athletes representing 206 countries will compete in Tokyo.
WHAT ARE THE DAYS TO WATCH OUT FOR?
Saturday July 31: 18 gold medals up from grabs including the final of the Women's 100m athletics race.
Sunday August 1: 25 medal events including men's 100m athletics final, both men's and women's gymnastics final and the men's tennis singles final. It will also play host to the final day of swimming action.
Saturday 7 August: The second big Saturday of the games will see finals in basketball, boxing, football, freestyle super-heavyweight wrestling and beach volleyball, along with the culmination of the modern pentathlon, women's golf, team equestrian jumping, women's water polo and kumite karate - as well as the rhythmic gymnastics individual all-round final. Gear up for a big day of action there.
WILL FANS BE IN ATTENDANCE?
Foreign spectators have been banned from attending the games meaning this will be like no Olympics ever seen before.
Most venues have made the decision to ban locals too to prevent a spike in COVID-19 cases but places where some events will be held - Miyagi, Shizuoka and Ibaraki Prefecture - will allow a limited number of spectators.
WHAT ARE THE COVID-19 RESTRICTIONS IN PLACE FOR ATHLETES?
Athletes are under strict guidelines while competing at the games. These include;
- Tested daily for COVID-19 and have their location tracked by GPS.
- Keeping two meters of distance between each other.
- Strongly discouraged to socialise with athletes who aren't on the contacting tracing list.
- Masks worn at all times within Olympic Village, except during meals with alcohol only to be drunk in rooms and;
- All other Olympic personal are also expected to comply with the restrictions in place.
WHEN ARE THE NEXT OLYMPICS BEING HELD?
All things going to plan, the next Olympic Games will be held in Paris in 2024 before Los Angeles plays host in 2028 while Australia could secure the rights in 2032 with Brisbane strongly in the conversation for the 35th Games.
Featured Image Credit: Instagram/@ausolympicteam/@aussie7s/PA
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