How to watch Karate at Olympics 2020: key dates, live stream and more

Close-up of man wearing traditional karate uniform
(Image credit: Antonio Sanchez Albacete / EyeEm via Getty Images)

Karate, like Judo, finds its origins in Japan. The ancient martial art is popular worldwide, and it’s a spectacular experience watching karatekas go toe-to-toe. This is the first time that it’s been featured in the Olympics, so we put together this article about how you can watch karate at Olympics 2020. Note that karate is in the Olympics only for the 2020 games; it will not be featured in the 2024 Olympics. 

Live stream karate at 2020 Olympics

Dates: Thursday, August 5 - Saturday, August 7

Venue: Nippon Budokan

FREE live streams: BBC iPlayer (UK) | 7Plus (AUS) | CBC (Can) | TVNZ (NZ)

US coverage: NBC channels (or Sling TV / Fubo TV)

Watch anywhere: try ExpressVPN 100% risk-free

In the World Karate Championships, Japan has consistently topped the leaderboard—they have 198 medals, 90 of which are gold. But that won’t make the Olympics a cakewalk for them.

Spain’s karatekas are among the best ranked in the world and will light up the competition. Look out for stunning performances from Sandra Sánchez in particular, who’s considered one of the best karatekas of all time. On the men’s side, make sure you watch Japan’s Ryo Kiyuna and Spain’s Damián Quintero. At the 2018 World Karate Championship, Ryo bagged the gold, while Damián won the silver. 

One of them is likely to clinch gold in Tokyo, so read on as we explain how to watch a karate live stream wherever you are in the world right now. Or, if you’re curious about the other games, you can also check out this detailed article on getting an Olympics live stream for an overview of all the can't-miss action from Japan this summer.

Olympics 2020 karate: key dates and times

  • Women's Kata Final Bout: Thursday, August 5 from 7:50pm JST / 11:50am BST / 6:50am ET
  • Men's Kumite -67kg Gold Medal Bout: Thursday, August 5 from 8:40pm JST / 12:40pm BST / 7:40am ET
  • Women's Kumite -55kg Gold Medal Bout: Thursday, August 5 from 8:50pm JST / 12:50am BST / 7:50am ET
  • Men's Kata Final Bout: Friday, August 6 from 7:50pm JST / 11:50am BST / 6:50am ET
  • Women's Kumite -61kg Gold Medal Bout: Friday, August 6 from 8:40pm JST / 12:40pm BST / 7:40am ET
  • Men's Kumite -75kg Gold Medal Bout: Friday, August 6 from 8:50pm JST / 12:50am BST / 7:50am ET
  • Women's Kumite +61kg Gold Medal Bout: Saturday, August 7 from 7:55pm JST / 11:55am BST / 6:55am ET
  • Men's Kumite +75kg Gold Medal Bout: Saturday, August 7 from 8:05pm JST / 12:05am BST / 7:05am ET

Free Olympics karate live stream

Catch a karate Olympic live stream where you are with many native broadcasters offering free coverage across the Olympics schedule. In the UK, BBC and BBC iPlayer will be broadcasting live coverage of key events (although nowhere near as extensively as in the past), while Channel 7 in Australia, and its online counterpart, 7Plus, lead the charge with the most comprehensive live stream across all events.

Other countries with free Olympic live streams include RTE in Ireland, TF1 in France, and ARD and ZDF in Germany.

How to watch your Olympics live stream when abroad

No matter where you are around the world, there should be an Olympic Games stream to ensure you can watch Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, whether paid-for or free. However, you may find your preferred domestic coverage is geo-restricted when abroad, or that your place of work, college, or school has prevented the ability to access your chosen service and watch online.

Thankfully, there's any easy work-around. Simply download a VPN and you can spoof your device into appearing as if it's located somewhere else. Essentially, then, you can appear as if you're where your coverage is geo-locked to and watch as if you're right at home.

Use a VPN to watch Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games from anywhere

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Three simple steps to using a VPN to bypass geo-restrictions:

1. Download and install a VPN - our recommendation is ExpressVPN

2. Connect to the relevant server location - launch the VPN app, click on 'choose location' and select the right location, i.e. UK for iPlayer, US for Sling TV

3. Head to the chosen broadcaster's live stream - so, whichever service you want to use, all you need to do is head to their website and start streaming.

Tokyo's legendary Nippon Budokan hosts karate at the 2020 Olympics

(Image credit: FRANCK FIFE via Getty Images)

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FREE Olympics karate live stream in the UK


In previous years, all the Olympic action you could handle would have been on the BBC, but coverage has been scaled back in 2021. It's proven tricky to fathom from the schedules whether the BBC will show this, but if a Brit is looking likely to medal, we'd assume it will at least be on the online BBC iPlayer.

Discovery+ and Eurosport are, therefore, your best options for watching every minute of the Olympics climbing action live.

Each one costs £6.99 per month or a bargain £29.99 for a whole year. And if you want to see just how comprehensive the coverage is (spoiler alert: very!) then there's also a three-day free trial you can take advantage of.

If you’re abroad for the Olympics, access your favorite home streaming services by downloading and installing a VPN. That way, you won’t miss any events.

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How to watch Olympics karate in the US with and without cable


Those in the US with a cable subscription can access full Olympic karate coverage via NBC, either online or on TV. But don’t worry if this isn’t included in your cable setup; you can also head to streaming services like Peacock, Sling TV and Fubo TV. 

While Peacock offers a free service with plenty of on-demand TV shows and movies, you’ll need to upgrade to a Premium account ($4.99/month) or an ad-free Premium Plus account ($9.99/month) to live stream the 2020 Olympics - and even this coverage is limited.

Alternatively, Sling TV’s streaming service will also be broadcasting the 2020 Olympics with all NBC and NBCSN's coverage available via the platform. Subscribe to the Sling Blue package (usually $35 a month) which includes NBCSN, and you can currently get your first month for just $10

You can use Google Chrome Browser, Samsung TV, iOS, Android, and other devices to access these platforms.

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How to watch Olympics karate in Canada


Those living in Canada benefit from a choice of channels airing the Olympics, as coverage is split across CBC, TSN, Sportsnet, and TLN.

If you don’t have cable, you still have options. CBC, TSN, and Sportsnet also provide standalone streaming services. CBC is great value, offering a free first month and then a low monthly subscription cost of just CA$4.99. That said, you can get a ton of free Olympic coverage on CBC, too, via its website and app.

Alternatively, TSN is more expensive at CA$4.99 per day or CA$19.99 per month, and Sportsnet Now will also set you back CAD 19.99 a month.

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How to live stream karate at the Olympics for FREE in Australia

free coverage of the 2020 Olympics

Karate fans in Australia can benefit from Channel 7’s free coverage of the 2020 Olympics or use its online streaming service, 7plus, which offers extensive, 24/7 coverage of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

This is available on the majority of web-enabled devices, but you can check out the website for further information. 

Not in Australia? Use a VPN if you're away from home, in order to tap into your local Olympics coverage.

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How to watch Olympic karate in New Zealand


New Zealand also has free Olympics coverage in 2021 thanks to broadcaster TVNZand its TVNZ OnDemand streaming service, with Olympic coverage airing 24/7 on TVNZ 1 and online.

If that isn't quite enough, then Sky Sport is also carrying the action, with a weekly pass costing from $19.99.

Other 2020 Olympics broadcasters around the world

With many countries around the world taking part in the Olympic Games, you can find a broadcaster to watch Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in most countries, whether free or platforms that charge.

For those countries we haven't mentioned above, Wikipedia's dedicated page allows you to see a breakdown of Olympic Games TV channels to tune into.

Nikshep Myle is a freelance writer covering tech, health, and wellbeing. He has written for popular tech blogs like Tom's Guide, GadgetReview, SlashGear, and Creative Bloq, and has extensively reviewed consumer gadgets. When he’s not writing, you’ll find him meditating, gaming, discovering new music, and indulging in adventurous and creative pursuits.