Tokyo Olympics 2020: Not Sure Where To Start? Here’s Our Guide To Team GB’s Key Events And Ones To Watch
With all of the buzz surrounding the Euros earlier this month, you’d be forgiven for forgetting that this is also the summer of the Tokyo Olympics.
The games are finally, officially underway following Friday’s opening ceremony (and a year’s delay, no thanks to Covid), with the sporting action kicking off this week.
The Olympics always manage to draw in loads of us who wouldn’t usually pay attention to sport – but with so many events going on in the next few weeks, it can be daunting working out exactly which ones to focus your attention on.
With that in mind, here are the major moments from Team GB to keep an eye out for and the athletes that are ones to watch…
Women’s 100m and 200m
One to watch: Dina Asher-Smith
Why? Dina is undoubtedly one of the most exciting British athletes around today. Not only is she the first British woman to win a gold medal for sprinting at the World Athletics Championships (which she managed in 2019), she’s also the fastest woman in British history.
She’ll be competing in both the 100m and 200m sprints – and could well be about to be named the fastest woman in the world.
When? Set your alarms, folks – the 100m heats are at 3.40am UK time on 30 July, while the 200m heats are on August 2 at 2.30am.
Thankfully, the semi-finals and finals are at a more sociable hour, with the 100m finals and semi-finals at 11.15am and 1.50pm on July 31
The 200m semi-finals will be at 11.25am on August 2, while the final will take place a day later at 1.50pm.
One to watch: Laura Kenny
Why? Laura is already the most decorated British female Olympian of all time with four gold medals, so watching her compete is always exciting.
This year is also her first Olympics since becoming a mum, and recovering from an injury.
When? First off, she’s competing in the women’s team pursuit on August 2, which begins at 7.30am.
The women’s team pursuit continues the following day at 7.30am.
She’ll later compete in the women’s madison final at 7.30am on August 6, and the women’s omnium, which will take place at the less sociable hour of 2am on Sunday August 8.
One to watch: Jason Kenny
Why? Like his wife Laura, Jason is a big deal in the world of British cycling. At Rio 2016, Jason equalled Chris Hoy’s gold medal record, and could well be about to surpass it at the Tokyo games.
When? The men’s team spring will take place first, beginning on August 3 at 7.30am.
After that, Jason is set to compete in the men’s sprint, with its various stages being held on August 4, 5 and 6 at 7.30am.
Finally, the first round of the men’s Keirin event will be at 7.30am on August 7, with the next stage taking place at 2am the following morning.
One to watch: Alice Dearing
Why? Alice has made history as the first Black woman to represent Britain in the field of swimming at the Olympics, and says she hopes to use her platform to get more people from the Black community interested in her sport.
“If I can inspire one little Black girl or one little Black boy, anybody, to get into the water and give it a try, I’ve done myself proud, genuinely,” she recently told The Times. “That is the aim in it all.”
When? The women’s marathon swim is scheduled for August 4 at 10.30pm.
One to watch: Frazer Clarke
Why? Frazer’s road to Tokyo was a particularly tumultuous one. After not qualifying for the last two Olympic games, he had considered giving up on his hopes of competing altogether.
Since Rio 2016, Frazer witnessed the London Bridge terror attack and was stabbed three times in an incident at a nightclub, so he’s truly defied the odds to finally reach Tokyo.
When? His first match will be on July at 4.30am, when he goes up against Ukrainian boxer Tsotne Rogava.
One to watch: Charley Davison
Why? Growing up, Charley won a gold and silver medal in European and world championships for boxing, but took a seven-year break from the sport when she became a mother.
Now back in action, she’s hoping to take home the gold for Team GB, a dream she’s held since she was eight years old.
She previously told the BBC: “I didn’t think I would come back to boxing after having children but as soon as I stepped back in the boxing club I thought I’d see how far I could take it.”
When? Charley will go up against Morocco’s Rabab Cheddar on July 26 at 12.03pm.
One to watch: Helen Glover
Why? Helen has made history already as the first mother to be selected for Team GB’s rowing team, having welcomed three children since winning gold in Rio five years ago.
It was lockdown that made Helen want to pick up the oar again, telling Inside The Games: “When lockdown came it meant more hours on the rowing machine than I had anticipated.
“As my scores and times started getting better, I began to wonder if I could be the first woman in British Rowing history to make an Olympic team after having children.”
When? The women’s pair rowing heats kick off in the early hours of July 24, at 2am.
One to watch: Tom Daley
Why? He’s one of the UK’s most famous active Olympians, but Tom Daley has repeatedly said that the 2021 games could well be his last.
With an impressive two bronze medals already to his name, the Tokyo Olympics look set to be Tom’s last chance at bringing home the gold.
When? Tom’s first dive will be in the men’s syncronised 10m platform final on 26 July at 7am.
Following this, the men’s 10m platform event will take place on August 6 and 7.
One to watch: Sky Brown
Why: Teenager Sky is undoubtedly one of Team GB’s most talked-about competitors this year.
At just 13 years old, she’s the UK’s youngest Olympian ever, and is representing her country in the field of skateboarding in the first year that the sport has been recognised at the games.
She can also boast Mattel having already released a Barbie doll in her image, as well as having taken part in the first ever junior season of Dancing With The Stars over in the US.
When? The Olympics are yet to announce the schedule for the skateboarding event, but Sky has already proved so popular that we think it’ll be hard to miss when her event gets underway.
One to watch: Andy Murray
Why? He’s Andy Murray, tbh.
When? He and Joe Salisbury will play their first game in the men’s doubles on July 24.
Ones to watch: The whole team.
Why? This year, Team GB’s hopes of a football win rest solely on the women’s team – and they’re off to a cracking start, beating Chile 2-0 in the first match of the 2020 Olympics.
They also won praise for taking the knee prior to their first match.
When? Team GB will next be going up against Japan on July 24 at 11.30am.
One to watch: Zharnel Hughes
Why? Zharnel is another of Team GB’s first-timers in 2020, and he’s been tipped for big things, competing in both the men’s 100m and 100m relay.
Of the trio taking part in the relay, he has the fastest personal best, and we’re looking forward to seeing how he fares on the track when he makes his Olympics debut this month.
When? The men’s 100m heats get underway at around 3.30am on July 31, with races continuing over the course of the day. The semi-finals and finals will take place the following day.
As for the relay, that takes place on 5 August, with the final airing the following day at 2.50pm.