Olympics opening ceremony live updates, highlights, best moments to start 2021 Tokyo Games

The opening ceremony will be unlike any in years past. 

The 2021 Olympics will not have fans in attendance at the games this year due to the coronavirus, meaning that the exciting presentation to kickstart the Tokyo Games will be held entirely behind closed doors — outside of a few IOC members, foreign dignitaries, sponsors and diplomats — with fans from across the world forced to watch it from home. 

But those who missed having the Summer Games in 2020 will just be relieved to see the torch finally lighting the cauldron in Tokyo to kick off the long-awaited Olympics. 

Sporting News will be providing live updates and highlights from the opening ceremony when it kicks off live at 7 a.m. ET on July 23. Those hoping to see a replay of it later in the day can tune in at 7:30 p.m. ET on NBC. 

MORE: Watch the Olympics live on fuboTV (7-day free trial)

Olympics opening ceremony live updates, highlights

8:09 a.m.: Canada makes its entrance to the 2021 Olympic Games. 

8:02 a.m.: Some of the Team USA Gymnastics team members host their own Opening Ceremony. Not all Olympians are walking in during the Parade of Nations due to COVID-19 precautions. 

7:46 a.m.: Argentina wasn’t holding back their excitement coming in for the Olympic Games. 

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7:39 a.m.: Greece begins the Parade of Nations, followed by the IOC Refuge Olympic Team. 

7:33 a.m.: The Parade of Nations is minutes away from beginning. 

7:31 a.m.: The pace of the dance has begun to pick up as the entrance of the athletes gets closer. 

7:21 a.m.: Moment of silence held for those who lost their lives from the coronavirus, as well as for the 1972 killing of Israeli Olympians and coaches by the Palestinian group Black September. 

7:19 a.m.: As the flag is raised, Japan’s national anthem is performed. 

7:15 a.m.: Japanese Emperor Naruhito makes his entrance at the Opening Ceremony. Japan’s national flag is now being walked in. 

7:12 a.m.: The dance of the Opening Ceremony begins to show the athletes getting back to training for the Olympics. 

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7:06 a.m.: The ceremony inside the stadium now displaying at-home workouts as people remained isolated during the coronavirus pandemic. 

7:05 a.m.: Following a video showing how we got to this point, the fireworks fire off around the top of the Olympic Stadium. 

7:00 a.m.: It is time for the start of the 2021 Tokyo Olympics Opening Ceremony. 

Opening ceremony start time

  • Start time: 7 a.m. ET / 4 a.m. PT
  • Rebroadcast: 7:30 p.m. ET / 4:30 p.m. PT
  • Location: National Stadium, Tokyo, Japan

As will be the case for much of the 2021 Tokyo Games due to the 13-hour time difference between Tokyo and Eastern Standard Time, those hoping to see the opening ceremony will have an early wakeup call. The ceremony will begin at 7 a.m. ET on Friday, July 23, or 8 p.m. local time in Tokyo. 

The ceremony arrives after some events have already begun, however, with softball and soccer, archery and rowing preliminaries already under way.

MORE: Full day-by-day TV schedule for 2021 Olympics

How to watch the opening ceremony

  • TV channel: NBC
  • Live stream: Peacock | NBCOlympics.com | fuboTV
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NBC will provide complete coverage of the Olympics from start to finish over its various channels. But to watch the opening ceremony, viewers will need to tune into NBC itself at 7 a.m. ET to watch the festivities. This marks the first time NBC will broadcast an Olympics opening ceremony live in the morning.

Not an early bird? No worries. There will be a replay on NBC at 7:30 p.m. ET. 

Here is NBC’s full broadcast schedule for Friday, July 23:

Time (ET) Broadcast
6:55-11 a.m. Live opening ceremony coverage
11 a.m.-1 p.m. Special Olympics edition of “Today”
1-4 p.m. Tokyo Olympics Daytime
7:30 p.m.-Midnight Opening ceremony replay
12:35-1:38 a.m. Special Olympics edition of “Tonight Show”

How long is the Olympics opening ceremony? 

Viewers will want to get settled in to watch the opening ceremony. The celebration of the start of the games is expected to last about four hours, running from 7 a.m. ET to 11 a.m. ET.

NBC and Olympics organizers have kept other details of the opening ceremony under wraps, including how many members of each nation’s delegation will be allowed to march.