All the Tokyo Olympics Events You Should Actually Watch

Photo-Illustration: The Cut. Photos: Getty Images

The 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games have commenced, and with them comes over 7,000 hours of events you can watch at your whim. That’s a whole lotta sports. Too many, some may say, especially considering that the best new sport of the year has already dropped: human pictograms. If you need a refresher on all the sports involved in this year’s Games, allow me to introduce you to this five-minute masterpiece shown during the Opening Ceremony:

As I said, it’s a lot of sports, including some new ones this year, like surfing and sport climbing. If you’re trying to figure out which events to watch, how to navigate the very confusing time difference, which sports are worth waking up at 6 a.m. to see, and on which days you can witness Simone Biles kick everyone’s ass, let me be your unathletic guide to the 2020 Tokyo Olympic events worth watching.

Simone Biles and the U.S. Women’s Gymnastics Team

What a gift to be alive at the same time as Simone Biles. Though she won’t be competing in the individual all-around finals for mental-health reasons, she may still take part in the events finals. Regardless, Biles will almost certainly be there this week to cheer on her teammates — and thus, you should be as well.

Thursday, July 29, 6:50 a.m. ET: Women’s gymnastics individual all-around final.
Sunday, August 1, at 4 a.m. ET: Women’s vault and uneven bars event finals.
Monday, August 2, 4 a.m. ET: Women’s floor event finals.
Tuesday, August 3, 4 a.m. ET: Women’s beam event finals.

Katie Ledecky vs. Ariarne Titmus

Among the best things to happen at the 2020 Olympics is Dean Boxall, the coach of Australian swimmer Ariarne Titmus. Boxall was, uh, excited after Titmus beat Team U.S.A.’s Katie Ledecky in the 400-meter freestyle. And rightfully so! Titmus is the first person ever to beat Ledecky in any individual Olympic event. The two will compete against each other in two more individual events and one relay.

Wednesday, July 28, at 11:30 p.m. ET: Women’s 4x200-meter freestyle relay.
Friday, July 30, at 9:45 p.m. ET: Women’s 800-meter freestyle.


This is the first year that skateboarding, surfing, and sport climbing are Olympic events. That alone is reason to watch, but if you need another, meet Bryce Wettstein. The 16-year-old skateboarder from California plays ukulele and is joined on Team U.S.A. by her best friend and fellow skateboarder Brighton Zeuner. This is the unofficial Brink! reboot I have been waiting for.

Tuesday, August 3, at 11:30 p.m. ET: Women’s park-skateboarding finals.

Sport Climbing

Although this is the first year that sport climbing, which is basically rock climbing but indoors on a rock wall, is in the Olympics, Brooke Raboutou is already a legacy climber. The 20-year-old from Boulder, Colorado — fitting — is the daughter of former Climbing World Cup champions Robyn Erbesfield-Raboutou and Didier Raboutou. She has set multiple records herself, including becoming the first U.S. climber ever to qualify for an Olympic Games.

Wednesday, August 4, at 3 a.m. ET: Women’s sport-climbing qualifiers.
Friday, August 6, at 3:30 a.m. ET: Women’s sport-climbing finals.

Bruce Springsteen’s Horse-Girl Daughter

Jessica Springsteen — yes, as in the daughter of Bruce — will be vying for a chance to compete in Team U.S.A.’s equestrian finals. The 29-year-old and her horse, a 12-year-old stallion named Don Juan van de Donkhoeve, are among the younger members of the U.S. team and will need to beat out more experienced riders to qualify for the finals.

Tuesday, August 3, at 6 a.m. ET: Individual jumping qualifiers.
Friday, August 6, at 6 a.m. ET: Team jumping qualifiers.

Gabby Thomas

If you’re rightfully bummed about Sha’Carri Richardson being suspended from the Tokyo Olympics, you can mourn her absence while still cheering on fellow star runner Gabby Thomas. At the Olympic trials, Thomas ran the second-fastest 200 meters ever. EVER! She’s favored to win gold in the 200-meter sprint and will be competing in the women’s 4x100-meter relay. Oh, and she graduated from Harvard, where she studied epidemiology. Truly an elite athlete in every sense of the word.

Tuesday, August 3, at 7:50 a.m. ET: Women’s 200-meter sprint finals.
Friday, August 6, at 8:30 am ET: Women’s 4x100-meter relay.

U.S. Women’s Soccer Team

After a disappointing loss to Sweden, the U.S. women’s soccer team tied with Australia, allowing it to advance to the quarterfinals. While some fans are unmoved by Team U.S.A.’s performance thus far, I would do pretty much anything Alex Morgan told me to.

Friday, July 30, at 6 a.m. ET: Quarterfinals (USA vs. Netherlands).

Closing Ceremony

After 17 days of sports, the Tokyo Olympics will come to a close on Sunday, August 8, at 7 a.m. ET. Fingers crossed that we’ll get to say good-bye with more human pictograms or, at the very least, Mr. Olympics himself.

All the Tokyo Olympics Events You Should Actually Watch