The Tokyo Olympics, after being postponed for a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, officially commenced Friday with the majesty of the Opening Ceremony at Tokyo’s Olympic Stadium.
The Opening Ceremony began at 8 p.m. local time in Japan. With the United States’ Eastern Standard Time being 13 hours behind Japan, it was an early morning for those in the U.S. who wanted to watch the ceremony live.
If you missed it, don't worry. The 2021 Tokyo Opening ceremony will re-air in primetime at 7:30 p.m. ET, and again overnight.
The ceremony kicked off the two-week global competition that features thousands of athletes, hundreds of countries and a record 339 medal events in 41 different sports. Among them, a couple of local athletes compete Friday. Here's how to watch:
Mass. Sabre Fencer Sets His Sights on Gold
The Olympic fencing competition begins Friday at 8 p.m. ET with men's sabre and women's epee individual bouts. Team USA’s top fencer, Eli Dershwitz, is headed to the Olympics ranked No. 2 in the world, and he’s hoping to return from Tokyo with some hardware.
Before leaving for Tokyo, the 25-year-old from Sherborn, Massachusetts, told NBC10 Boston that he knew the games would look much different than they did in Rio De Janeiro five years ago.
“It's definitely going to be sad not having my family and friends in the stands like I had in Rio,” Dershwitz said. “I was definitely using that as motivation, you know? That support system -- I was planning to have it as fuel during the competition.”
Without any international tournaments or competitions during that time, fencers like Dershwitz are heading into the games with less scouting on their competition.
“It's going to be a little bit more of a guessing game,” Dershwitz said. “It's going to come down to, you know, how well we pair individually, how mentally and physically ready we are. How much you're willing to fight at the games for a shot at making history.”
The full schedule for streaming coverage of Olympic fencing can be found here.
Mass. Native Competes in Men's Four
In his first Olympic appearance, Massachusetts native Andrew Reed will be on the men's coxless four in Tokyo.
Born in Worcester and raised in Wayland, Reed attended Harvard University. In 2017, he was on the men's eight that won silver in the World Rowing Championships.
In their first heat, Reed's boat placed second to Australia.
Meet Local Olympic Athletes
3x3 Basketball Makes Olympic Debut in Tokyo
There are several new sports making their Olympic debuts in Tokyo, and Friday is when you can first catch the exciting action.
The women’s 3x3 basketball tournament will tip off at 9:15 p.m. ET on Friday. The U.S. women’s team will take the floor for the first time against France on Saturday at 4:55 a.m. ET, followed by a game against Mongolia at 8 a.m. ET.
Chicago Sky center Stefanie Dolson, Dallas Wings guard Allisha Gray, Las Vegas Aces guard Kelsey Plum and Las Vegas Aces guard Jackie Young will make up the inaugural Team USA 3x3 roster. Young was named a replacement for Seattle Storm guard Katie Lou Samuelson, who tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this week.
Watch Team USA battle France live online at this link. 3x3 basketball will be featured in TV coverage on NBCSN (12 to 2 a.m. ET), USA (2 to 9:50 a.m. ET) and NBC (10:45 to 2:45 p.m. ET).
China's Yang Qian Wins First Gold Medal of Tokyo Olympics
Less than 24 hours after the Tokyo Opening Ceremony, the first gold medal of the Tokyo Olympics was awarded.
Yang Qian of China won gold in the women's 10m air rifle finals Friday.
Anastasiia Galashina of Russia won silver while Switzerland's Nina Christen took bronze.
U.S. shooter Mary Tucker finished sixth, digging herself a hole in the second of two five-shot sequences in the final but shrugging off pressure to fight off two eliminations while music blared in the Asaka Shooting Range.
The next medal event to commence will be the men’s road race in cycling, which begins at 10 p.m. ET. After that, medals will be awarded in weightlifting, archery, judo, fencing and taekwondo.
Swimming Heats Begin Early Saturday Morning
The swimming competitions at the Tokyo Games will make a splash beginning Saturday morning.
Action will begin at 6 a.m. ET on Saturday with heats in six events: men’s 400m IM, women’s 100m butterfly, men’s 400m freestyle, women’s 400m IM, men’s 100m breaststroke and women’s 4x100m freestyle relay.
The finals for the men’s 400m IM, men’s 400m freestyle, women’s 400m IM and women’s 4x100m relay will take place Saturday night beginning at 9:30 p.m. ET.
Chase Kalisz (men’s 400m IM); Torri Huske and Claire Curzan (women’s 100m butterfly); Kieran Smith (men’s 400m freestyle); Emma Weyant and Hali Flickinger (women’s 400 IM); Michael Andrew (men’s 100m breaststroke); and Abbey Weitzeil and Erika Brown (women’s 4x100m relay) will be among the top Americans to watch on the first day of the swimming competitions.
One of the biggest questions going into Tokyo was whether or not Simone Manuel would be included in the women’s 4x100m relay team. The four-time Olympic medalist took gold in the women’s 100m freestyle and 4x100m relay in Rio, but she failed to qualify in the 100m freestyle at the U.S. Olympic Trials in June. She secured her spot on the Olympic swimming team by winning the 50m freestyle at the trials, but it remains unclear if she will get a chance to go for another gold as part of the relay team.
Watch the opening heats live on USA, or stream online here.