Tokyo 2020 LIVE: 2020 Tokyo Olympic Opening Ceremony Will Replay at 7:30 p.m. ET Friday

Live Updates

Tokyo 2020 is underway as over 600 Team USA athletes arrived in Japan for the Olympic Games.

It was a bumpy start for the women's soccer team, which lost 3-0 to Sweden, but Team USA softball had a strong start with two wins against Italy and Canada.

Organizers remain determined to push ahead despite COVID-19 forcing athletes to withdraw, protests outside the stadium from locals, and scandals involving Olympic committee executives.

The opening ceremony will air live at 6:55 a.m. ET Friday and again on replay at 7:30 p.m. ET.

Friday's main events include tennis, water polo and cycling.

Follow Newsweek's live blog for all the latest Olympics events and news.


Men's Soccer  Olympics
Richarlison of Brazil scores his team's opening goal in the Men's First Round Group D match during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at International Stadium Yokohama on July 22, 2021 in Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan. Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

The opening ceremony of the Tokyo Games airs Friday

Although teams have been competing for two days already, Friday officially kicks off the start of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

Japan is 13 hours ahead of U.S. Eastern time. But don't worry— you don't have to stay up all night to catch the biggest events.

Here are some of the main events to watch for Friday:

  • Opening Ceremony: The opening ceremony will air live from 6:55 a.m. to 11 a.m. ET and will replay again at 7:30 p.m. ET
  • Tennis: The first round of men's and women's singles and doubles will air live from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. ET. The matches will be replayed on Saturday between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. ET
  • Water Polo: The U.S. women's water polo team will face Japan live at 1 a.m. ET. It will replay on Saturday morning
  • Softball: The U.S. softball games against Italy and Canada that took place on Wednesday and Thursday will replay on Friday between 8 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. ET.
  • Women's Soccer: The U.S. women's soccer match against Sweeden that took place Wednesday will air on reply Friday at 1:30 p.m. ET. The Japan vs. Canada and Australia vs. New Zealand games will also air on replay from 3:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. ET

Women's 3x3 basketball, rowing, archery and men's cycling will all air live Friday but will be replayed between 10:45 a.m. and 2:45 p.m. ET on Saturday.

An honor unlike any other.@eddyalvarez90 and @S10Bird have been selected as #TeamUSA’s flag bearers for the #TokyoOlympics Opening Ceremony. 🇺🇸

— Team USA (@TeamUSA) July 21, 2021

TikTok shows COVID-19 safety protocols in Olympic dining halls

An Australian athlete said she and her team only get 10 minutes to eat their meals inside the Olympic dining halls.

Water polo player Tilly Kearns posted a TikTok on Tuesday showing the COVID-19 safety protocol in pace when athletes eat.

Such health measures include wearing a mask and gloves and sanitizing individual cubicles at dining tables before and after each person eats.

"It makes mealtime conversations pretty difficult because it's hard to hear through them, but it keeps us safe," she said.

Read the full story here.

Tokyo Olympics sees most out LGBTQ athletes competing in any Games

Toyko Olympics is the most inclusive Games yet, with over 160 LGBTQ athletes competing.

Such athletes include returners like WNBA star Sue Bird and her fiance soccer champion Megan Rapinoe.

Bird will be one of the three athletes leading Team USA at the opening ceremony Friday.

New Zealand weightlifter Laurel Hubbard will be the first transgender athlete to compete in the Olympics.

Canadian swimmer Markus Thormeyer said competing as an openly gay athlete is "pretty amazing."

"Being able to compete with the best in the world as my most authentic self at the biggest international multi-sport games shows how far we've come on inclusion in sport," he told Outsports. "I'm hoping that by competing at these Games I can show the LGBTQ community that we do belong and we can achieve anything we put our minds to."

Thormeyer was not out when he competed at the 2016 Rio Olympics and came out publicly as gay in a 2020 essay for Outsports.

The United States has the most out athletes at the Tokyo Olympics, with more than 30 known LGBTQ competitors.

Opening ceremony to go on as planned following dismissal of director Kentaro Kobayashi

The opening ceremony for the Tokyo Olympic Games will go on as scheduled, the Tokyo 2020 International Communications Team said.

In a press statement, the team said there was an investigation into the opening ceremony following the dismissal of former director Kentaro Kobayashi over past insensitive comments.

According to the statement, multiple creators have contributed to the Ceremony, and "no single part of the Opening Ceremony was specifically directed solely by KOBAYASHI Kentaro himself."

Therefore, the ceremony is "currently proceeding as planned."

The ceremony will air live on Friday at 6:55 a.m. ET and again on replay at 7:30 p.m. ET.

Guinea pulls out of Olympics over COVID-19 concerns

Guinea has pulled its team out of the Tokyo Olympic Games over COVID-19 concerns.

"Due to the resurgence of COVID variants, the government, concerned with preserving the health of Guinean athletes, has decided with regret to cancel Guinea's participation in the 32nd Olympics scheduled for Tokyo," Minister of Sports Sanoussy Bantama Sow wrote in a statement.

The Guinean team consisted of five athletes competing in running, swimming, freestyle wrestling and judo martial arts

Read the full story here.

New events, including surfing and karate, added to the Tokyo Olympics

Surfing, skateboarding, sports climbing and karate will make their Olympic debut in Tokyo.

Baseball and softball will return, making their first appearances since the 2008 Games in Beijing.

Additionally, 3x3 basketball will be added to the existing basketball and freestyle BMX and madison cycling will be added to the BMX and track cycling programs.

Read more about the new Olympic events here.

NBC will not add crowd noise during Olympic events

At an Olympics without in-person fans, NBC will not add additional crowd noise to its coverage of the Tokyo Games.

NBC producer Molly Solomon told the Associated Press that the network hopes the fans watching at home will hear the Games in a new way.

"You look at gymnastics and think about the distinctive intricacies of each apparatus, and we really feel like we'll be able to bring the viewer closer to the athlete's experience here in Tokyo than ever before," Solomon, who is working her 11th Olympics for NBC, said.

Solomon added that some ambient crowd noise may be used in some venues to create some atmosphere for athletes and prevent total silence.

"You'll hear it as the athletes hear it," she said.

Group of athletes and activists ask IOC to allow protests at Games

Tommie Smith, John Carlos and Gwen Berry join 150 other athletes, educators and activists who are calling for the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to change protest rules at the Tokyo Games.

In a five-page letter sent Thursday, advocates asked the IOC to not sanction athletes for kneeling or raising a fist during the Olympics and called out the IOC position that the Olympics should remain neutral.

"Staying neutral means staying silent, and staying silent means supporting ongoing injustice," the letter said.

The IOC changed its rule banning political demonstrations at the games to allow protests on the field before the start of the action. However, athletes are still prohibited from demonstrations on medal podiums and punitive measures are left up to individual sports federations.

"We do not believe the changes made reflect a commitment to freedom of expression as a fundamental human right nor to racial and social justice in global sports," said the letter said.

Men's soccer first round results Thursday

In men's soccer, Japan won in its home country, defeating South Africa 1-0.

Here are the results after Thursday's group stage matches:

  • Egypt drew with Spain 0-0 (Group C)
  • Mexico beat France 4-1 (Group A)
  • Ivory Coast beat Saudi Arabia 2-1 (Group D)
  • Australia beat Argentina 2-0 (Group C)
  • Romania beat Honduras 1-0 (Group B)
  • Japan beat South Africa 1-0 (Group A)
  • Brazil beat Germany 4-2 (Group D)
  • New Zealand beat South Korea 1-0 (Group B)

The next round of games will be held on Sunday, July 25.

Home country, home goal 🇯🇵

Takefusa Kubo scores to make it 1 - 0!#TokyoOlympics x NBCSN

— #TokyoOlympics (@NBCOlympics) July 22, 2021

Opening ceremony director fired for Holocaust joke

Kentaro Kobayashi, the director of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics opening ceremony, has been dismissed for making a Holocaust joke during a comedy show in 1998.

Footage of the act recently circulated online of Kobayashi saying the phrase, "let's play Holocaust."

"We found out that Mr. Kobayashi, in his own performance, has used a phrase ridiculing a historical tragedy," Olympic organizing committee president Seiko Hashimoto said in a press briefing.

"We deeply apologize for causing such a development the day before the opening ceremony and for causing troubles and concerns to many involved parties as well as the people in Tokyo and the rest of the country," he added.

In a statement, Kobayashi said he regrets what he said.

"Entertainment should not make people feel uncomfortable," he said. "I understand that my stupid choice of words at that time was wrong."

Read the full story here.

First lady Jill Biden arrives in Japan to lead the U.S. delegation

First lady Jill Biden has arrived in Japan to lead the U.S. delegation at the Olympic Games.

This is Biden's first solo international trip as first lady.

She is set to have dinner with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and his wife, Mariko Suga, at Akasaka Palace Thursday evening.

On Friday she will host a virtual meeting with members from Team USA before meeting Emperor Naruhito at the Imperial Palace. She is then scheduled to attend the opening ceremonies in Tokyo.

Hello, Tokyo!! 👋 @TeamUSA I'm here for you! You make us all proud ❤️🤍💙

— Jill Biden (@FLOTUS) July 22, 2021

The first lady will visit the U.S. Embassy and Chief of Mission Residence to meet with American diplomats Saturday and host a watch party for the United States vs. Mexico softball game. She plans to attend some Olympic events in person.

White House officials have ensured the press that the U.S. delegation will follow the strict protocols in place at the Games.

Biden has bookended her Japan trip with visits to Alaska and Hawaii.

Soccer: Mexico defeats France 4-1

Mexico picked up its first win in the men's soccer tournament opener against France.

After a scoreless first half, Alexis Vega and Sebastian Cordova scored the team's first two goals in the 47th and 55th minutes.

Andre-Pierre Gignac scored a penalty shot to get France on the board in the 70th minute.

But Uriel Atuna widened Mexico's lead 3-1 in the 80th minute and Eduardo Aguirre added the fourth goal in stoppage time.

Mexico last won gold at the 2021 Olympics. France last won the Olympic title in 1984.

#Olympic | First Match. First Win. 🇲🇽👊🏻💯#Tokyo2020 | #FMFporNuestroFútbol

— Mexican National Team (@miseleccionmxEN) July 22, 2021

Thursday morning summary - what have you missed?

Stick with Newsweek's live blog throughout Thursday for more.

Fake soccer spectator noise 'pumped into Yokohama stadium'

COVID foiled plans to allow thousands of spectators in to watch the soccer and other Olympics events - but organizers have come up with a creative solution.

Loud spectator noise, cheering and chanting, is being "pumped" into the stadium during the Brazil v Germany match, AP reports.

Unlike in the Premier League, fake crowd noise is being pumped into the Yokohama stadium for #Tokyo2020 football - not just on TV coverage

Brazil leading Germany 1-0 through Richarlison’s 7th minute goal

— Rob Harris (@RobHarris) July 22, 2021

IOC to show athletes taking the knee after removing gesture from previous videos

The Internation Olympics Committee has announced it will show athletes taking the knee in highlights videos online. The committee was criticized after removing the gesture from its promotional videos ahead of Tokyo 2020.

Players from five women's soccer teams, including Team USA, kneeled in support of racial justice Wednesday, the first day it was allowed at the Olympic Games after a ban lasting decades.

Tokyo 2020 soccer players take the knee
Team USA soccer player Alex Morgan and Swedish player Hanna Glas take a knee before the USA v Sweden soccer match at Tokyo 2020 Tim Clayton/Getty Images

Team USA video shows Simone Biles practicing in Tokyo

Early morning, USA! 🇺🇸 Start your day with @Simone_Biles training her Yurchenko double pike vault at the #TokyoOlympics.

— Team USA (@TeamUSA) July 22, 2021

'This is the end of my career': Dutch and Czech athlete withdraws after getting COVID

Heartbroken Reshmie Oogink, a Dutch Taekwondo competitor, has had to withdraw after testing positive for the virus.

I have done everything I could and have worked so hard to get so close to the Games. This is the end of my career.

She is the second Dutch athlete to have withdraw after contracting COVID, according to Reuters. The news agency also reported Czech women's beach volleyball player Marketa Nausch-Slukova has tested positive and withdrawn.

Schedule: Day minus one at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo is nine hours ahead of Eastern Time - if you're staying up all night to watch, here's what to watch this morning.

The softball events today have finished, with Team USA victorious over Canada, but plenty of soccer matches are still to be played.


3.30-8.30am (ET) - Men's Group C

  • Egypt vs Spain
  • Argentina vs Australia

4-9am (ET) - Men's Group A and B

  • Mexico vs France (A)
  • Japan vs South Africa (A)
  • New Zealand vs Republic of Korea (B)
  • Honduras vs Romania (B)

4.30-9.30am (ET) - Men's Group D

  • Côte d'Ivoire vs Saudi Arabia
  • Brazil vs Germany

Team USA staff member apologizes after comparing Olympics COVID rules to Nazi Germany

A chiropractor working with Team USA's wrestling team apologized for comparing the coronavirus protocols in place at Tokyo 2020 to Nazi Germany.

Rosie Gallegos-Main posted on her Facebook and Instagram profiles last week:

We went from 'Flattening the curve in 14 days' to 'Going door-to-door to see your papers' ... Gotta admit, I did N-A-Z-I that one coming.

Her posts were flagged by two social media platforms for spreading misinformation and were swiftly removed after the Associated Press notified the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) of the nature of the comments.

READ MORE: Chiropractor Backtracks After COVID-Nazi Comparison

Tokyo reports highest COVID cases in six months

City officials reported 1,979 new infections on Thursday - the highest since January and an increase of over 600 compared to this time last week.

At Tokyo 2020, 91 Olympics staff and athletes have tested positive so far and Team USA's gymnastics team have been forced to relocate to a hotel.

Five Team USA athletes not competing due to COVID-19

The virus has not left Team USA unaffected, with several American athletes having to miss out on their hope of winning gold at Tokyo.

U.S. men's beach volleyball player Taylor Crabb is the latest to announce withdrawal from the Games after testing positive for COVID on Wednesday. He is expected to be replaced by Tri Bourne. Tennis player Cori Gauff also tested positive this week, as well as gymnastics alternate Kara Eaker, who is isolating in a hotel room for 10 days.

Katie Lou Samuelson, 3x3 women's basketball team member, said she was "heartbroken" after testing positive for the virus - despite being fully vaccinated. NBA All-Star Bradley Beal will also miss out on medals after USA Basketball withdrew him for health and safety reasons, but a positive test has not been announced.

Opening ceremony director fired over Holocaust joke - what you need to know

Tokyo 2020 organizers announced the firing of opening ceremony director Kentaro Kobayashi on Thursday - one day before the event - because of a Holocaust joke he made during a comedy show in 1998.

Kobayashi was accused of using a joke about the Holocaust in his comedy act, including the phrase "Let's play Holocaust."

Organizing committee president Seiko Hashimoto said:

We found out that Mr. Kobayashi, in his own performance, has used a phrase ridiculing a historical tragedy. We deeply apologize for causing such a development the day before the opening ceremony and for causing troubles and concerns to many involved parties as well as the people in Tokyo and the rest of the country.

It follows another scandal earlier this week, with composer Keigo Oyamada forced to resign because of past bullying of his classmates, which he boasted about in magazine interviews. The segment of his music will not be used, organizers confirmed.

Softball: USA 1-0 Canada

It's the second win for Team USA at Olympic softball after defeating Italy 2-0 yesterday at the Fukushima Azuma Baseball Stadium.

Monica Abbott allowed just one hit over seven innings while striking out nine, picking up her first win of the Games. The only score of the game came in the fifth inning. Haylie McCleney got on base with a one-out single.

It is a strong start for a women's team hoping to gain a fourth gold medal for the U.S. in the sport.

It's a 2-0 win for @TeamUSA! #TokyoOlympics | @USASoftball

— #TokyoOlympics (@NBCOlympics) July 21, 2021