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Everything you need to know about the Tokyo 2020 Olympics

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July 20th, 2021

The world’s fastest, strongest, and best conditioned athletes have had to wait a little longer than usually for the 2020 Summer Olympics, but they're gathering now in Tokyo, Japan for the biggest two weeks of their careers.

There are exactly 1,017 medals up for grabs in Tokyo, and here’s everything you need to know before the games begin and the drama ramps up.

When are the Tokyo 2020 Olympics?

The Tokyo 2020 Olympics will be held from July 23 until Aug. 8 in 16 days of non-stop sport. Technically, there are some early round competitions beginning on July 21, but the opening ceremony at Tokyo’s brand-new National Stadium will be on the July 23, and will feature the ceremonial lighting of the Olympic Cauldron.

Why are the Tokyo 2020 Olympics being held in 2021?

The COVID-19 pandemic forced the games to be rescheduled from their original 2020 date. This is the first time ever that an Olympic games has been rescheduled, and it has previously survived ongoing issues with the Zika Virus in Brazil in Rio 2016, and an outbreak of Swine Flu at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

Unfortunately, this time the games had to be postponed, which cost an estimated $5.8 billion.

Are spectators allowed at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics?

Sadly, all the events that are held in Tokyo – including the opening ceremony, swimming, gymnastics, and track & field – will be behind closed doors. The Tokyo Metropolitan Government made the decision after the city was placed into an emergency state.

Spectators will be allowed at events held outside of Tokyo, but the spectators will be limited to Japanese fans. There will be no oversea spectators or family and friends of the athletes in order to protect the safety of all the competitors at the games.

Can you bet on the Tokyo 2020 Olympics?

Absolutely. TwinSpires Sports has a whole feast of betting across most events at the games for us to get stuck into. Some popular options include soccer, basketball, 3 x 3 basketball, beach volleyball, field hockey, handball, softball, volleyball, and water polo.

Tokyo 2020 Olympics sports and events

Basketball (team)
Basketball ( 3 x 3)
Beach Volleyball
Canoe Slalom
Canoe Sprint
Cycling (BMX, Mountain Bike)
Cycling (Road and Track)
Gymnastics (Artistic and Rhythmic)
Modern Pentathlon
Sport Climbing
Swimming (Marathon and Artistic)
Table Tennis
Trampoline Gymnastics
Water Polo
Weight Lifting

Which country is expected to in the most gold medals?

Team USA dominated at Rio 2016 with 121 medals in total, including 46 golds. Team GB were the closest challengers with 27 golds, just edging out China who won 26. Russia picked up 19 golds, followed by Germany (17) and then Japan (12).

Great Britain have a far weaker team five years on, so Team USA are expected to top the medal table comfortably yet again, with China desperately holding on to their coattails. Japan and Russia will fancy their chances of collecting a few golds, but Team USA will likely be miles clear of the pack.

Will there be any new sports at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics?

IOC President Thomas Bach stated that the goal for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics was to give them a more "youthful and urban" appeal. So, we now have 339 events in 33 different sports including five brand new or newly re-introduced sports – baseball, karate, sport climbing, surfing, and skateboarding. There will also be 15 new events within existing sports, including the hugely exciting 3x3 basketball, freestyle BMX, and madison cycling.

The 3x3 basketball format which has been adopted for Tokyo 2020 will see two teams of three compete with one basketball hoop. 3x3 has been played in streets and in gyms across the world for decades but didn’t make its competitive debut until the Summer Youth Olympics in Singapore in 2010. The successful trial means it has made it to the main summer games and the betting looks competitive.

Serbia are favored in the men's event at +120, edging out Latvia at +250. Netherlands and Russia are both +700 in the betting with Poland at +1500. In the women’s it is all about Team USA, who are red-hot at the top of the betting at +110. France are +300 with Russia (+600) and China (+800) next in the betting.

Skateboarding also makes its first appearance at the Olympics, with Nyjah Huston the talk of the town. The California-based skater is the highest paid skateboarder in the world and is a four-time gold medal winner in the World Skateboarding Championships. He is a popular favorite to see off hometown hero Yuto Horigome in the Men’s Street event.

In Men’s Park Skating the betting is dominated by Team USA with Heimana Reynolds, Cory Juneau, and Zion Wright all battling for a spot on the podium. Reynolds will be the favorite of the three having won gold at the 2019 World Skateboarding Championships in Brazil, a year after collecting the silver medal in China.