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Olympics live stream 2021: how to watch Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games free online and schedule

Tokyo Olympics 2020 logo in front of an athletics track
(Image credit: kovop58 / Shutterstock.com)

It barely feels like it's started, and yet 2021's Tokyo Olympics is drawing to a close already. With only a few days left of action on the athletics track, cycling velodrome and other venues around the city you won't want to miss a minute more. You're in the exact right place find out about the best free ways to live stream 2020 Olympics action, so read on as we explain how to watch it all online and catch all your favorite events no matter where you happen to be in the world today.

2020 Tokyo Olympic Games live stream

Dates: Wednesday, July 21 - Sunday, August 8 2021

Host city: Tokyo, Japan

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

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

Watch anywhere: try ExpressVPN 100% risk-free

Oh, how we LOVE the Olympic Games. By the time the closing ceremony roles around on Sunday, the Tokyo 2020 Olympics (in 2021) will have been 400 total sporting events across 35 different sports and over 50 disciplines.

In total, the 2021 Olympics schedule features more than two weeks of unmissable sporting action. Those wanting to watch will find themselves treated to loads of exciting new sports, including baseball, karate, sport climbing, surfing and skateboarding. There’s 15 new events in total, including mixed-gender competitions and the massively enjoyable pick up game-style 3x3 basketball from week one.

They join prestigious Olympics mainstays like last weekend's pule-racing 100m sprints and all the usual faves like gymnastic, equestrian, badminton and cycling.

Although this second and final week is jam-packed with gold-winning action, the penultimate day of 2021 action is one to watch, as a massive 34 medal events are taking place on Saturday, August 7 - including the gold medal basketball and football matches.

Whichever country or athlete you follow, the good news is that it's easy to get a FREE Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games live stream right now - just follow our 2021 guide to watch the Olympics online and from anywhere.


How to live stream Olympics 2021 action if you're not in your country

Without wishing to state the obvious, the Olympic Games is a huge global event, and there should be a way to watch no matter where you find yourself during the gold-frenzy fortnight. But if you are abroad and struggling to see it - or if you just want the comfort and language of your home nation's coverage - then geo-restrictons may stand in your way of getting an Olympics live stream in 2021.

But there's a really easy way around that problem. By downloading and installing a VPN, you can effectively trick your computer into thinking that it's back at home. That way you can enjoy your home coverage without having to find an illegal stream - assuming you comply with the broadcaster's fine print, of course.

Use a VPN to watch Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games from anywhere

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Using a VPN is as easy as one-two-three...

1. Download and install a VPN - as we say, our top choice is ExpressVPN

2. Connect to the appropriate server location - open the VPN app, hit 'choose location' and select the appropriate location

3. Go to the broadcaster's live stream - so if you're from the UK, just head to BBC iPlayer

Remember, VPNs aren't just about watching sport (or other TV shows when you're overseas). They also provide a handy layer of extra anonymity and security to your everyday life online, and can help you get around blocks websites, apps and services when you're in countries (or schools or offices) that have more stringent web rules, such as China, Cuba or the Middle East.

Tokyo 2020 Olympics

(Image credit: Shutterstock.com)

free olympics live stream uk tokyo 2020

FREE Olympics live stream: how to watch Tokyo 2020 online in the UK 

As ever, the BBC is the place to tune into if you're hoping to watch coverage of 2021's Olympics without paying a penny. 

As well as hosting more than 350 hours on BBC One and BBC Two, BBC iPlayer is the best way to live stream Tokyo 2020 if you're not in front of a TV. As a national broadcaster, it doesn't cost a penny to stream if you're located in the UK (though you should possess a valid TV Licence). And there are iPlayer apps available for pretty much every device you can think of, including laptops, games consoles, tablets, smart TVs, and all iOS and Android devices.

Unlike most years, however, the BBC won't have all the action. That's because the Discovery network has bought the 100% coverage rights.

That means you can watch on either of its own Discovery+ service or on Eurosport Player. Both will cost you £6.99 a month or £29.99 for the year - and each have a 3-day free trial to help you try and decide whether you like it.

Not in the UK for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games? No worries - residents of the country can just download and install a VPN to port themselves back home to a UK location, then watch live as usual. 

watch olympics live stream tokyo 2020 US

How to watch Olympics 2021: live stream Tokyo 2020 in the US 

NBC is the official US broadcaster for the 2020 Olympics, with the action from Tokyo likely to be shown between linear TV coverage - usually NBCSN or NBC - and its dedicated streaming service Peacock TV.

What Olympics sports can I watch on Peacock?

Peacock is especially good for basketball fans, with the service offering coverage of every Team USA game to Premium subscribers. Peacock Premium costs from just $4.99 a month (or $49.99 for a whole year) and offers a FREE 7-day trial.

Casual fans will find that Peacock's free Tokyo Live and Tokyo Today shows offer "multi-sport coverage" that's good for dipping in and out of 2021 Olympics action and highlights. In particular, it has free gymnastics and athletics action on tap from Tokyo.

However, anyone after end-to-end coverage of a specific sport  may want to consider a more comprehensive cord cutting alternative, as you need access to NBC's linear TV channels to enjoy the full spectrum of Olympics action.

How to watch Olympics without cable

All of the Olympics action that's aired on linear TV can be watched affordably without cable - courtesy of great value over-the-top streaming service Sling

NBCSN comes as part of its $35 a month Sling Blue package. But be sure to check the Sling website for special offers  - there's usually something eye-catching on. For example, at the time of writing your first month for only $10.

How to watch the Olympics online from anywhere

If you subscribe to this or any other streaming service and find yourself unable to access it because you're out of the country, remember that you can use a VPN to tune into your usual coverage just like you would at home. 

Of the many options, we rate ExpressVPN as the best of the best - our latest 2021 testing showing that it works brilliantly in helping US residents access services like Sling and Peacock from abroad.

olympics live stream tokyo 2020 australia

How to watch the Olympics FREE: live stream Tokyo 2020 in Australia

It's great news for Aussie sports fans, as you can watch the 2020 Olympics for FREE Down Under, thanks to Channel 7.

And if you’d like to stream the action from Tokyo online instead, Channel 7's coverage is also available to watch via the network’s 7Plus streaming service.

The even better news is that it's looking like coverage is really at a maximum, and you can pick and choose what you want to watch live as it's happening. A fantastic win for Aussie viewers!

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

watch olympics live stream tokyo 2020 canada

How to watch the Olympics: live stream Tokyo 2020 in Canada for FREE

Tokyo 2020 coverage is split between a range of different broadcasters in Canada. If you've got a cable subscription, you can watch the Olympics on Sportsnet, TSN, CBC and TLN. 

Sportsnet and TSN will let you watch the action from Tokyo online, too - either by registering with details of your pay TV provider, or by signing up for a standalone streaming package.

For instance, Sportsnet Now is perfect for cord-cutting fans, costing just $19.99 a month. Meanwhile, you can subscribe to TSN on a streaming-only basis from just CA$4.99 a day or (much better value) $19.99 a month.

But so far, we reckon CBC is our top pick for Canadians, as it's making loads of free coverage available absolutely free on its website and apps.

Whatever you're trying to watch, we'd heartily recommend that you take a look at your local schedules to see which broadcaster has what.

And don't forget that using a VPN is the way to get your regular Olympics live stream if you're away from Canada during the event.

watch olympics live stream tokyo 2020 new zealand

How to watch the Olympics: live stream Tokyo 2020 in New Zealand

The official broadcasters for the 2020 Olympics in New Zealand are Sky Sport, which is available as part of a range of pay TV packages, and TVNZ, which is FREE to watch.

You can also stream the action online via the free TVNZ OnDemand streaming service, and through Sky Go.

The Sky Sport Now streaming-only platform is another option, with a weekly pass costing $19.99.

If you're away from New Zealand right now, use a VPN and you'll be streaming the Olympics in no time at all.

More ways to watch the Olympics online in 2021

As we say, there won't be many places around the world where a live stream of the Olympics in 2021 won't be available. Just some may be more free to watch than others.

We'll be quite honest with you, there isn't a more comprehensive or clear to understand list on the internet than the one on Wikipedia. If you want to know who's showing an Olympics live stream where you are, then check out the list there.

Shadow of man holding Olympic rings on athletics track

(Image credit: lazyllama / Shutterstock.com)

Tokyo Olympics 2020 schedule and events

  • Olympics Opening Ceremony - July 23
  • 3x3 Basketball - July 24-28
  • Archery - July 23-31
  • Artistic Gymnastics - July 24 - August 3
  • Artistic Swimming - August 2-7
  • Athletics - July 30 - August 8
  • Badminton - July 24 - August 2
  • Baseball/Softball - July 21 - August 7
  • Basketball - July 25 - August 8
  • Beach Volleyball - July 24 - August 7
  • Boxing - July 24 - August 8
  • Canoe Slalom - July 25-30
  • Canoe Sprint - August 2-7
  • Cycling BMX Freestyle - July 31 - August 1
  • Cycling BMX Racing - July 29-30
  • Cycling Mountain Bike - July 26-27
  • Cycling Road - July 24-28
  • Cycling Track - August 2-8
  • Diving - July 25 - August 7
  • Equestrian - July 24 - August 7
  • Fencing - July 24 - August 1
  • Football - July 21 - August 7
  • Golf - July 29 - August 7
  • Handball - July 24 - August 8
  • Hockey - July 24 - August 6
  • Judo - July 24-31
  • Karate - August 5-7
  • Marathon Swimming - August 4-5
  • Modern Pentathlon - August 5-7
  • Rhythm Gymnastics - August 6-8
  • Rowing - July 23-30
  • Rugby Sevens - July 26-31
  • Sailing - July 25 - August 4
  • Shooting - July 24 - August 2
  • Skateboarding - July 25-26, August 4-5
  • Sport Climbing - August 3-6
  • Surfing - July 25 - August 1
  • Swimming - July 24 - August 1
  • Table Tennis - July 24 - August 6
  • Taekwondo - July 24-27
  • Tennis - July 24 - August 1
  • Trampoline Gymnastics - July 30-31
  • Triathlon - July 26-31
  • Volleyball - July 24 - August 8
  • Water Polo - July 24 - August 8
  • Weightlifting - July 24 - August 4
  • Wrestling - August 1-7
  • Olympics Closing Ceremony - August 8

Are the 2020 Olympics going ahead in 2021?

Olympics organisers were very reluctant to reschedule Tokyo 2020, eventually agreeing to postpone the event just weeks before it was due to begin, after mounting concern from athletes and the wider world.

There have since been numerous stories about the Games' apparent impending cancellation, all of which have been wide of the mark. And amid vocal protests from concerned Japanese natives, the IOC appears to be determined to move ahead with the games in the summer of 2021.

That said, while it seems highly unlikely that the 2020 Olympics will be pushed back again, everything hinges on the unpredictable Covid-19 situation. So keep your fingers crossed...

Are there any new sports for 2020 Olympics?

Six new sports and 15 new 'events' have been added to the Olympics program. The new sports are baseball, softball, karate, sport climbing, surfing, and skateboarding.

However, some of the new events we can look forward to include 3x3 Basketball, Madison Cycling, and Freestyle BMX, as well as new mixed-gender events in athletics, swimming, table tennis and triathlon.

Olympics 2020

(Image credit: kuremo / Shutterstock.com)

Where are the 2020 Olympics being held?

For the second time ever, and for the first time in nearly 60 years, Tokyo is the host city for the Olympic Games.

Harumi Futo is the site of the Olympic Village, but the eternal symbol of the games will be the nearby Japan National Stadium, which is hosting the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, as well as the athletics events.

When are the 2020 Paralympics?

The 2020 Paralympics begin shortly after the end of the Olympics. The event is scheduled to start on Tuesday, August 24, and will run for just under two weeks, coming to an end on September 5. 

Will the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics go ahead?

When the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games was postponed last summer, an International Olympic Committee member said that a further postponement would have a knock on effect to the 2022 Winter Olympics set to take place in Beijing in February 2022. 

With the summer Olympics more than likely to go ahead this month, we should see the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics going ahead as planned, set to begin February 4, 2022.

The Beijing Winter Olympics is scheduled to take place in February 2022

(Image credit: Loic Lagarde via Getty Images)

Is the Olympic Channel free?

After that little more depth in your Olympics spectating. The Official Olympics Channel is available via your browser or as an app on many devices. Here you can find replays of some of the most iconic moments in Olympics broadcasting history, as well as live events in some territories, documentaries, and so much more.

A great means to get you geared up in the lead up to the Opening Ceremony, check out the Olympic Channel.

Will there be domestic spectators at the Olympics?

Every decision made about the Tokyo 2020 Olympics is done so with considerable amounts of scrutiny as the global health crisis continues to dictate large scale events and the drawing in of large crowds. One question which had yet to be settled was whether the Tokyo Olympics will keep its events behind closed doors, or whether the Japan National Stadium seats will be filled with spectators.

Having sold tickets to Olympic events two years prior, the organising committee had expected ticket sales to bring in ¥90bn. In the event these ticket sales have to be refunded, that will account for a loss of over 50% of the Olympic games commercial revenue.

While reports had detailed up to 10,000 people could be allowed to watch the Olympic Games in person in Tokyo, as the capital has seen a recent spike in infection rates, Tokyo has entered into a state of emergency, running from July 12 to August 22. This means there will be no spectators in the capital, with no alcohol to be served at bars or restaurants either, closing at 8pm local time.

For venues outside of the capital, though, including  the regions of Fukushima, Miyagi and Shizuoka, a capacity of 50% up to 10,000 will be allowed spectators.