Tokyo Olympics 2020 sports: Your (brief) guide to every sport

Your complete (and brief) guide to every sport at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games plus our full range of in-depth explainers to help you make the most of it all.

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

The Olympic Games 2020 are a true celebration of sport in all its variety, splendour and glory, and Tokyo has gone a long way towards showing off the finest competitors in the world so far.

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And we’re nowhere near done yet.

The beauty of the Olympics is that no-one intends to become a taekwondo boffin, a dressage enthusiast or an archery anorak over breakfast, yet here we are.

You can barely put a spoonful of cornflakes to your lips without learning the name of skateboarding’s hottest new sensation or absorbing the differences between Epee, Foil and Sabre in fencing. And that is why we adore the Games.

We’ve been hard at work this summer helping you make the most of a chaotic schedule to bring you all the important tidbits you need to know to make the most of every sport.

From the length of the table tennis tables to the width of the judo ring to the height of the badminton nets, we’ve got you covered.

RadioTimes.com brings you the full list of sports at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games with links to our handy explainer guides to bring you up to speed with the ones you may never have seen before.

Final guides will be added the day before an event begins.

Archery (July 23rd – 31st)

Forget Legolas, Robin Hood and Hawkeye, these guys are the real deal. Armed with laser-sharp bows and ice running through the veins, archers are geared up to hit challenging targets in every round.

Athletics (July 30th – August 8th)

It’s hard to boil athletics down to one sentence… so we’re not even going to try! 48 medals, 10 days. Soak it up.

Badminton (July 24th – August 2nd)

A P.E. classic. We’ve all done it once and believed we could go all the way to the podium every time we struck the ball with grace but the top of the sport is a fast-paced, ultra-focused contest you can’t take your eyes off.

Baseball/softball (July 21st – August 7th)

A returning sport for the Japanese crowds, baseball may not strike (pun very much intended) you as a typical Olympic offering but it’s a good one to get hooked on. The Americans’ concept of simplified cricket is a compelling watch.

Basketball (July 24th – 28th)

End-to-end action will have you glued to your screen for full games, with NBA stars littered throughout the men’s tournaments. There’s also a brand new 3×3 basketball event where teams of three battle over one hoop.

Boxing (July 24th – August 8th)

Countless professional careers have been launched from the Olympic boxing pad. Who will be the next Amir Khan and Anthony Joshua?

Canoeing (July 25-30th; August 2nd-7th)

A niche spectator sport that tends to attract a cult following at each Games, canoeing is a frenetic sport where playing it safe doesn’t equate to golds but risks can reduce champions-elect to rubble in an instant.

Cycling (road, mountain, track, BMX) (July 25th – August 8th)

Let’s face it, we as a nation love the cycling because we’re just. too. damn. good. at it. From twisting roads to towering mountains, smooth gliding track runs to rough-and-ready BMX clashes, cycling has it all.

Diving (July 25th – August 7th)

No cannonballs allowed. Competitors will plunge from 3m and 10m heights, alone or in perfect tandem with a teammate, in a bid to enter the water as cleanly as possible.

Equestrian (July 24th – August 7th)

DANCING HORSES.

Fencing (July 24th – August 1st)

No, it’s not a special edition of The Cube. Fencing is a space-age clash of musketeers with enduring appeal for those looking for rogue knowledge to wow their mates with. Be the fencing guy.

Field hockey (July 24th – August 6th)

An exciting team sport that will have you wincing for goalkeepers throughout the tournaments. It’s a long-running slog but the winners will have 100 per cent earned their spot at the top once the curtain comes down.

Football at the Olympics (July 21st – August 7th)

If Euro 2020 wasn’t enough for you, if the impending Premier League return is still too far away, the Olympics can help bridge the gap.

Golf at the Olympics (July 30th – August 2nd; August 5th-8th)

Proving that there really is something for everything at these Olympics, the start of each round of golf will provide gentle evening entertainment for UK viewers before providing early-risers with a hit of excitement each morning as the rounds draw to a close.

Gymnastics (July 24th – August 3rd; August 6-8th)

We can all run, slowly. We can all kick a football, hit a tennis ball, swim a length or two, punch a man square in the face and ride a bike, poorly. But you simply can’t do a single thing these guys attempt.

Handball (July 24th – August 8th)

No, it’s not just repeatedly committing the fundamental atrocity of football and being presented a medal. Handball is an all-action sport in its own right.

Judo (July 24-31th)

Martial arts are a popular sport every time the Games come around with judo based around grappling with opponents in a bid to topple them.

Karate (August 5-7th)

Moving on from gripping and grabbing opponents, karate involves giving them a thwack or two. We’re sorry to all genuine karate enthusiasts for the disingenuous description, but tell us we’re wrong.

Pentathlon (August 5-7th)

Triathlon covers land, sea and cycling, but pentathlon is a far more varied affair with competitors needing to adapt to fencing, shooting, swimming, running and… show jumping. MORE DANCING HORSES.

Rowing (July 23rd-30st)

More than a mere scrap between Oxford and Cambridge, rowing is a large scale event with multiple disciplines.

Rugby sevens (July 26th-31st)

Five-a-side football, but rugby-fied. Short, sharp matches are punctuated with moments of sheer brilliance and rapid pace in order for a side to triumph.

Sailing (July 26th – August 4th)

Like rowing, sailing involves some nifty crafts and technical competitors with a host of disciplines to master.

Shooting (July 24th – August 2nd)

All those hours in the arcade playing Duck Hunt payed off for these gold medal hopefuls.

Skateboarding (July 25-26th; August 4-5th)

Sky Brown is Team GB’s potential golden girl in this one. The youngest ever representative for Britain at the Summer Games – aged just 13 years and 11 days – is ready to bring your Tony Hawk: Pro Skater dreams to life.

Sport climbing (August 3rd-6th)

An Olympic debut for a popular sport in terms of UK participation with around one million Britons engaging in indoor rock climbing every year.

Surfing (July 25th – August 1st)

Another fresh sport for Tokyo 2020 set in the natural wave machine of Tsurigasaki Beach.

Swimming (July 24th – August 1st)

The pool is full of activity right the way through the Games with a range of disciplines and competitors gunning for glory.

Table tennis (July 24th – August 6th)

Don’t blink, you’ll miss it.

Taekwondo (July 24-27th)

Britain has a growing pedigree in taekwondo with medals flowing in over the past few Games. A popular martial arts event.

Tennis at the Olympics (July 24th – August 1st)

Novak Djokovic’s quest for a Golden Slam is on. Only Steffi Graf has won the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon, US Open and Olympic Games in the same calendar year.

Trampoline (July 30th-31st)

More than just a distraction to tire your kids out on hot summer’s day, trampoline gymnastics requires skill, precision and strength to master.

Triathlon (July 26-27th; July 31st)

Alistair Brownlee confirmed to RadioTimes.com that he has competed in his last Olympics, but the show must go on with brother Jonny.

Volleyball (inc. beach) (July 24th – August 8th)

More than just a knockaround on the beach, the stamina levels required for the top level of volleyball would put your bank holiday day out efforts to shame.

Water polo (July 24th – August 8th)

Think of that family holiday you enjoyed before the world went into lockdown. Remember the pool? Remember thrashing around, tossing the ball at your dad’s head and racing to recover it? Imagine that on an Olympic scale, with power, precision and explosive speed.

Weightlifting (July 24-28th; July 31st – August 4th)

An ancient classic. Who can lift the heaviest weight? Sometimes the simplest sports create the most drama. Anyone can flick on the weightlifting and understand the aim.

Wrestling (August 1st-7th)

It’s time to put down the spandex and cheesy WWE lines, this is wrestling in its purest, simplest and often most joyous form. Two competitors, one ring, one goal. Sorted.

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If you’re looking for something else to watch check out our TV Guide or visit our Sport hub for all the latest news.