By Todd Kortemeier | April 16, 2019, 12:01 a.m. (ET)


The Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 run July 24-Aug. 9, 2020, and while they may be nearly 20 months away there’s a lot to learn on your quest to becoming the ultimate fan. Each Tuesday leading up to the Games, will present a nugget you should read about – from athletes to watch to storylines to follow to Japanese culture and landmarks – as part of “Tokyo 2020 Tuesday.” Follow along on social media with the hashtag #Tokyo2020Tuesday.


The master competition schedule for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 was released Tuesday morning, and now all that’s missing is the fans in the stands … and almost all the athletes.

But athletes and fans alike can all now envision where they’re going to be in July and August 2020, as the days, times and sites for the record 33 sports and 339 medal events are set. The Games officially begin with the Opening Ceremony on July 24 and conclude with the Closing Ceremony Aug. 9. 

But two days is too long a wait for the much-anticipated return of softball to the Olympic program, as preliminary round games on July 22 will mark the first actual events contested at the Games, at 9 a.m. Tokyo time (the evening of July 21 in the U.S.). Later that day, women’s soccer will kick off from the Sapporo Dome on the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido.

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No sport is contested every day of the Games, though team handball and volleyball are close. Each begins July 25 and concludes with medal events on Aug. 9. Fans anxious to get a look at the new Olympic sports and events will have their first chance with 3x3 basketball, which tips off July 25. One new sport not beholden to a schedule is surfing. The competition technically gets underway July 26, but due to wave conditions, will have to be flexible and has the entire duration of the Games to run, if needed.

Japanese fans will no doubt be hoping their national baseball team will be playing for the gold medal on Aug. 8 in that sport’s return to the Olympic program. Karate also makes its debut in the place of the sport’s birth, with final bouts Aug. 6-8. The Japan women’s wrestling team, winners of 11 of 18 gold medals since 2004, will take center stage Aug. 2-8. Women’s gold-medal bouts will be the final events of each day.

The earliest competition of the Games is the men's 50-kilometer race walk, which begins at 5:30 a.m. local time on Aug. 8. The men's and women's marathons (Aug. 9, Aug. 2), and men's and women's 20K race walks (July 31, Aug. 8), start at 6 a.m.

Four sports have competition that ends later than 11 p.m. local time, including indoor volleyball, which has nine days of preliminary play followed by the Aug. 4 and 5 quarterfinals and Aug 8 men's gold-medal game all ending at 11:30. The 3x3 basketball medal games end at 11:25 p.m. on July 29, while the men's soccer gold-medal game and men's team handball gold-medal game both end at 11:30 on Aug. 8.

The complete schedule for the Paralympic Games was released in October.

Todd Kortemeier is a sportswriter, editor and children’s book author from Minneapolis. He is a contributor to on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.

A fan holds a ticket at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games Two Years To Go Ceremony on July 24, 2018 in Tokyo.