How to watch swimming at the Tokyo Olympics – the qualifying heats begin on July 24

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Katie Ledecky
Olympic swimming events will be broadcast live on NBC and USA.

  • Tokyo Olympic swimming events start on July 24 and conclude July 31.
  • Swimming events will air on USA and NBC via live TV streaming services.
  • On the USA team, expectations are high for Katie Ledecky and Caeleb Dressel.

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Swimming events at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics start on July 24 and continue daily until July 31. Live coverage will be broadcast on NBC and the USA network.

The USA team has several strong competitors in women’s and men’s divisions, but all eyes will be on Katie Ledecky when she gets in the water. Ledecky already has an impressive collection of five gold medals and one silver medal coming into the Tokyo Olympics. If she snags three more gold medals in Tokyo, Ledecky will tie swimming legend Jenny Thompson as the winningest female US Olympian of all time.

In the men’s division, Caeleb Dressel is expected to lead the pack after his impressive showing at the 2019 FINA World Championships. Dressel earned two gold medals during the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

How to watch Olympic swimming

Live broadcasts of Olympic swimming events are split between two channels: USA and NBC. For both men’s and women’s events, you can watch the preliminary heats on USA and the finals on NBC. Swimming heats will air in the mornings starting around 6 a.m. ET, and final races will air later in the evening during primetime coverage.

If you already have access to NBC and USA through a pay-TV provider, you can also stream every swimming event live via the NBC Sports app or NBCOlympics.com.

If you don’t have cable, you can get NBC and USA through a variety of live TV streaming services. Sling TV is the cheapest subscription service for watching all the Olympic swimming events. New members can get their first month for just $10 (regularly $35). NBC is only offered in select markets, however, so be sure to check Sling’s website for availability first.

FuboTV, Hulu + Live TV, and YouTube TV are additional live streaming services with access to both channels for watching Olympic swimming, but these options are more expensive at $65/month each.

TV (small)TV (Starter Plan) (small)+ Live TV (small)TV (small)

Viewers who can’t tune into events live can stay caught up on the action by catching highlights and primetime coverage on NBC. For free swimming highlights and videos from additional Olympic events, you can download the Peacock app or visit NBCOlympics.com.

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Men’s Olympic swimming schedule

Caeleb Dresse stands during Olympic trials in 2021.
Caeleb Dressel.

July 24

Event Time Channel
400m Individual Medley (Heats) 6:02 a.m. ET USA
400m Freestyle (Heats) 6:48 a.m. ET USA
100m Breaststroke (Heats) 7:55 a.m. ET USA
400m Individual Medley (Final) 9:30 p.m. ET NBC
400m Freestyle (Final) 9:52 p.m. ET NBC
100m Breaststroke (Semifinals) 10:33 p.m. ET NBC

July 25

Event Time Channel
200m Freestyle (Heats) 6:22 a.m. ET USA
100m Backstroke (Heats) 7:19 a.m. ET USA
4x100m Freestyle Relay (Heats) 8:10 a.m. ET USA
200m Freestyle (Semifinals) 9:37 p.m. ET NBC
100m Breaststroke (Final) 10:12 p.m. ET NBC
100m Backstroke (Semifinals) 10:31 p.m. ET NBC
4x100m Freestyle Relay (Final) 11:05 p.m. ET NBC

July 26

Event Time Channel
200m Butterfly (Heats) 6:29 a.m. ET USA
200m Freestyle (Final) 9:43 p.m. ET NBC
100m Backstroke (Final) 9:59 p.m. ET NBC
200m Butterfly (Semifinals) 10:35 p.m. ET NBC

July 27

Event Time Channel
100m Freestyle (Heats) 6:02 a.m. ET USA
200m Breaststroke (Heats) 6:50 a.m. ET USA
4x200m Freestyle Relay (Heats) 7:17 a.m. ET USA
800m Freestyle (Heats) 7:37 a.m. ET USA
100m Freestyle (Semifinals) 9:30 p.m. ET NBC
200m Butterfly (Final) 9:49 p.m. ET NBC
200m Breaststroke (Semifinals) 10:21 p.m. ET NBC
4x200m Freestyle Relay (Final) 11:26 p.m. ET NBC

July 28

Event Time Channel
200m Backstroke (Heats) 6:25 a.m. ET USA
200m Individual Medley (Heats) 7:15 a.m. ET USA
800m Freestyle (Final) 9:30 p.m. ET NBC
200m Breaststroke (Final) 9:44 p.m. ET NBC
200m Backstroke (Semifinals) 10:04 p.m. ET NBC
100m Freestyle (Final) 10:37 p.m. ET NBC
200m Individual Medley (Semifinals) 11:08 p.m. ET NBC

July 29

Event Time Channel
100m Butterfly (Heats) 6:50 a.m. ET USA
4x100m Medley Relay, Mixed (Heats) 7:28 a.m. ET USA
100m Butterfly (Semifinals) 9:30 p.m. ET NBC
200m Backstroke (Final) 9:50 p.m. ET NBC
200m Individual Medley (Final) 10:16 p.m. ET NBC

July 30

Event Time Channel
50m Freestyle (Heats) 6:02 a.m. ET USA
1500m Freestyle (Heats) 6:48 a.m. ET USA
4x100m Medley Relay (Heats) 8:50 a.m. ET USA
100m Butterfly (Final) 9:30 p.m. ET NBC
50m Freestyle (Semifinals) 10:11 p.m. ET NBC
4x100m Medley Relay, Mixed (Final) 10:43 p.m. ET NBC

July 31

Event Time Channel
50m Freestyle (Final) 9:30 p.m. ET NBC
1500m Freestyle (Final) 9:44 p.m. ET NBC
4x100m Medley Relay (Final) 10:36 p.m. ET NBC

Women’s Olympic swimming schedule

Katie Ledecky at the 2021 Olympic Trials
Katie Ledecky.

July 24

Event Time Channel
100m Butterfly (Heats) 6:28 a.m. ET USA
400m Individual Medley (Heats) 7:30 a.m. ET USA
4x100m Freestyle Relay (Heats) 8:15 a.m. ET USA
100m Butterfly (Semifinals) 9:40 p.m. ET NBC
400m Individual Medley (Final) 10:12 p.m. ET NBC
4x100m Freestyle Relay (Final) 10:45 p.m. ET NBC

July 25

Event Time Channel
100m Backstroke (Heats) 6:02 a.m. ET USA
100m Breaststroke (Heats) 6:59 a.m. ET USA
400m Freestyle (Heats) 7:39 a.m. ET USA
100m Butterfly (Final) 9:30 p.m. ET NBC
100m Breaststroke (Semifinals) 9:50 p.m. ET NBC
400m Freestyle (Final) 10:20 p.m. ET NBC
100m Backstroke (Semifinals) 10:53 p.m. ET NBC

July 26

Event Time Channel
200m Freestyle (Heats) 6:02 a.m. ET USA
200m Individual Medley (Heats) 6:56 a.m. ET USA
1500m Freestyle (Heats) 7:32 a.m. ET USA
200m Freestyle (Semifinals) 9:30 p.m. ET NBC
100m Backstroke (Final) 9:51 p.m. ET NBC
100m Breaststroke (Final) 10:17 p.m. ET NBC
200m Individual Medley (Semifinals) 10:58 p.m. ET NBC

July 27

Event Time Channel
200m Butterfly (Heats) 6:28 a.m. ET USA
200m Freestyle (Final) 9:41 p.m. ET NBC
200m Butterfly (Semifinals) 9:57 p.m. ET NBC
200m Individual Medley (Final) 10:45 p.m. ET NBC
1500m Freestyle (Final) 10:54 p.m. ET NBC

July 28

Event Time Channel
100m Freestyle (Heats) 6:02 a.m. ET USA
200m Breaststroke (Heats) 6:52 a.m. ET USA
4x200m Freestyle Relay (Heats) 7:34 a.m. ET USA
100m Freestyle (Semifinals) 9:53 p.m. ET NBC
200m Butterfly (Final) 10:28 p.m. ET NBC
200m Breaststroke (Semifinals) 10:54 p.m. ET NBC
4x200m Freestyle Relay (Final) 11:31 p.m. ET NBC

July 29

Event Time Channel
800m Freestyle (Heats) 6:02 a.m. ET USA
200m Backstroke (Heats) 7:08 a.m. ET USA
4x100m Medley Relay, Mixed (Heats) 7:28 a.m. ET USA
200m Breaststroke (Final) 9:41 p.m. ET NBC
100m Freestyle (Final) 9:59 p.m. ET NBC
200m Backstroke (Semifinals) 10:35 p.m. ET NBC

July 30

Event Time Channel
50m Freestyle (Heats) 6:24 a.m. ET USA
4x100m Medley Relay (Heats) 8:36 a.m. ET USA
200m Backstroke (Final) 9:37 p.m. ET NBC
800m Freestyle (Final) 9:46 p.m. ET NBC
50m Freestyle (Semifinals) 10:32 p.m. ET NBC
4x100m Medley Relay, Mixed (Final) 10:43 p.m. ET NBC

July 31

Event Time Channel
50m Freestyle (Final) 9:37 p.m. ET NBC
4x100m Medley Relay (Final) 10:36 p.m. ET NBC
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How to watch soccer at the Tokyo Olympics – women’s group matches begin on July 21

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USWNT US Women's National Team Soccer
US women’s national soccer team members Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe celebrate.

  • Olympic soccer will begin before the opening ceremonies with women’s group matches starting July 21.
  • Games will air on USA, NBC Sports, and the Olympic Channel via cable and live streaming services.
  • The women’s gold medal match is August 5, while the men’s gold medal will be decided on August 7.

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Soccer will be one of the first sports to begin competition at the Tokyo Olympics, with women’s group stage matches starting on July 21 and the men’s matches starting on July 22. The Tokyo Opening Ceremonies will be held on July 23 and Olympic soccer competition will continue through August 7.

A total of 24 nations will compete in soccer during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, with 16 qualifying men’s teams and 12 women’s teams. You can watch select games on USA, NBC Sports, and the Olympic Channel through cable and live streaming services.

While Olympic men’s soccer has been restricted to players 23-years-old and younger since 1992, the one-year delay of the 2020 games led to the age limit being increased to 24. Men’s teams can also name up to three senior players above the age limit to compete in the Olympics. Brazil won the men’s soccer gold medal as the host nation in 2016, led by international superstar Neymar.

Women’s teams don’t have roster restrictions, and the US women’s national soccer team, or USWNT, is bringing back most of its players from the 2019 World Cup championship squad. The Americans plan to return to gold medal form after losing in the quarter-finals of the 2016 Olympics in Brazil.

The US Men’s soccer team was eliminated from Olympic contention after a loss to Honduras in a June qualifying tournament. USWNT has won four Olympic gold medals including a 2012 victory over Japan, while the men’s team has never won a gold medal and hasn’t qualified for the Olympics since 2008.

How to watch Olympic soccer

You can watch select Olympic soccer games on NBC Sports, USA, the Olympic Channel, Telemundo, and NBC Universo. Most of the games in Tokyo will air during the early morning hours in the US. The most important Olympic soccer matches will air on USA and NBC Sports Network.

If you have an authenticated pay-TV provider with access to the required NBC stations, you can stream every Olympic soccer match via NBCOlympics.com or the NBC Sports app.

If you don’t have a cable provider, you can use a live TV streaming service like Sling TV, FuboTV, Hulu + Live TV, or YouTube TV. Sling TV is the most affordable choice to get every Olympic soccer channel. The Sling Blue plan starts at $35/month for access to NBC, NBCSN, and USA. New subscribers can get their first month for just $10. You can add the Olympic channel for an additional $11/month with the Sports Extra package.

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If you can’t watch the games live, NBC will provide daily highlights and evening recaps of each day’s events. In addition to primetime coverage on NBC, you can visit NBCOlympics.com or download Peacock, NBC’s streaming service, to watch free soccer highlights and clips from other sports.

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Women’s Olympic soccer schedule

Below, you can find a full schedule of women’s soccer matches for the Tokyo Olympics.

Games with TBA (to be announced) listed in the channel column do not have a broadcast network identified yet. It’s unclear if these games will end up being televised. We’ll update the schedule with additional times and channels as they are announced.

July 21

Event Time Channel
Great Britain vs. Chile (Group E) 3:30 a.m. ET Olympic Channel
China vs. Brazil (Group F) 4 a.m. ET NBC Sports Network
United States vs. Sweden (Group G) 4:30 a.m. ET USA
Japan vs. Canada (Group E) 6:30 a.m. ET

NBC Sports Network

Zambia vs. Netherlands (Group F) 7 a.m. ET Olympic Channel
Australia vs. New Zealand (Group G) 7:30 a.m. ET USA

July 24

Event Time Channel
Chile vs. Canada (Group E) 3:30 a.m. ET TBA
China vs. Zambia (Group F) 4 a.m. ET TBA
Sweden vs. Australia (Group G) 4:30 a.m. NBC Sports Network
Japan vs. Great Britain (Group E) 6:30 a.m. ET TBA
Netherlands vs. Brazil (Group F) 7 a.m. ET TBA
New Zealand vs. United States 7:30 a.m. NBC Sports Network and Telemundo

July 27

Event Time Channel
Sweden vs. New Zealand (Group G)

4 a.m. ET

TBA
United States v Australia (Group G) 4 a.m. ET USA
Chile vs. Japan (Group E) 7 a.m. ET TBA
Canada vs. Great Britain (Group E) 7 a.m. ET TBA
Brazil vs. Zambia (Group F) 7:30 a.m. ET Telemundo
Netherlands vs. China (Group F)

7:30 a.m. ET

TBA

July 30

Event Time Channel
Women’s quarterfinals one 4 a.m. ET NBC Sports Network
Women’s quarterfinals two 5 a.m. ET TBA
Women’s quarterfinals three 6 a.m. ET NBC Sports Network
Women’s quarterfinals four 7 a.m. ET TBA

August 2

Event Time Channel
Women’s semifinals one 4 a.m. ET USA
Women’s semifinals two 7 a.m. ET USA

August 5

Event Time Channel
Women’s bronze medal match 4 a.m. ET USA
Women’s gold medal match 10 p.m. ET USA

Men’s Olympic soccer schedule

Below, you can find a full schedule of men’s soccer matches announced for the Tokyo Olympics.

Games with TBA (to be announced) listed in the channel column do not have a broadcast network identified yet. It’s unclear if these games will end up being televised. We’ll update the schedule with additional times and channels as they are announced.

July 22

Event Time Channel
Egypt vs. Spain (Group C) 3:30 a.m. ET Olympic Channel, Universo
Mexico vs. France (Group A) 4 a.m. ET USA, Telemundo
New Zealand vs. South Korea (Group B) 4 a.m. ET NBC Sports Network
Cote d’Ivoire vs. Saudi Arabia (Group D) 4:30 a.m. ET Olympic Channel
Argentina vs. Australia (Group C) 6:30 a.m. ET Olympic Channel, Universo
Japan vs. South Africa (Group A) 7 a.m. ET NBC Sports Network
Honduras vs. Romania (Group B) 7 a.m. ET Olympic Channel
Brazil vs. Germany (Group D) 7:30 a.m. ET USA, Telemundo

July 25

Event Time Channel
Egypt vs. Argentina (Group C) 3:30 a.m. ET Telemundo
France vs. South Africa (Group A) 4 a.m. ET TBA
New Zealand vs. Honduras (Group B) 4 a.m. ET Universo
Brazil vs. Cote d’Ivoire (Group D) 4:30 a.m. ET NBC Sports Network
Australia vs. Spain (Group C) 6:30 a.m. ET NBC Sports Network, Universo
Japan vs. Mexico (Group A) 7 a.m. ET NBC Sports Network, Telemundo
Romania vs. South Korea (Group B) 7 a.m. ET TBA
Saudi Arabia vs. Germany (Group D) 7:30 a.m. ET TBA

July 28

Event Time Channel
Saudi Arabia vs. Brazil (Group D) 4 a.m. ET Universo
Germany vs. Cote d’Ivoire (Group D) 4 a.m. ET NBC Sports Network
Romania vs. New Zealand (Group B) 4:30 a.m. ET NBC Sports Network
South Korea vs. Honduras (Group B) 4:30 a.m. ET Telemundo
Australia vs. Egypt (Group C) 7 a.m. ET TBA
Spain vs. Argentina (Group C) 7 a.m. ET Universo
France vs. Japan (Group A) 7:30 a.m. ET

NBC Sports Network

South Africa vs. Mexico (Group A) 7:30 a.m. ET Telemundo

July 31

Event Time Channel
Men’s quarterfinals one 4 a.m. ET NBC Sports Network
Men’s quarterfinals two 5 a.m. ET TBA
Men’s quarterfinals three 6 a.m. ET TBA
Men’s quarterfinals four 7 a.m. ET USA

August 3

Event Time Channel
Men’s semifinals one 4 p.m. ET NBC Sports Network
Men’s semifinals two 7 p.m. ET NBC Sports Network

August 6

Event Time Channel
Men’s bronze medal match 7 a.m. ET NBC Sports Network

August 7

Event Time Channel
Men’s gold medal match 7:30 a.m. ET NBC Sports Network
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The Olympic ban on Afro swim caps – and the backlash it has received – is a huge lesson for business leaders

Swimmer Alice Dearing photographed in a Soul Cap
The Soul Cap, which fits over Afros and thick hair, was banned by the international swimming federation. British Olympic swimmer Alice Dearing is a brand partner with Soul Cap.

  • Soul Cap tried to have its swim caps – which fit over Afros – approved for the 2021 summer Olympics.
  • The governing Olympic body rejected the request, saying it didn’t conform to the “natural” head.
  • Fortune 500 consultants explain why the decision is a teachable moment for other leaders.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Maritza McClendon, the first Black woman to make a US Olympic swim team and a 2004 Olympic silver medalist, vividly remembers the sound of her white teammates in high school and college laughing as she struggled to fit her thick, curly hair into her swim cap.

She’d laugh along with them, but inside, she had an awful, sinking feeling. It was one of many microaggressions she endured over the years.

To be Black and a swimmer, she said, is difficult. And a new ruling by the International Swimming Federation, or FINA, makes it even more difficult.

A company called Soul Cap recently tried to have its swim caps – which fit over Afros, locs, extensions, and thick hair – approved for the 2021 summer Tokyo Olympics. FINA rejected the product, saying the caps didn’t follow “the natural form of the head.” Following swift backlash, FINA is revisiting the ban.

In response to a request for comment, FINA pointed to its latest press release on the matter, which said the federation understood the “importance of inclusivity and representation,” and that it would be revisiting the decision at an undisclosed date. As of this writing, no formal announcement has been made.

“It’s just really disappointing,” McClendon said. “The Olympics is the C-suite of sports. What kind of message does this send? It excludes the diversity the sport so desperately needs.”

In addition to calling the ban “ridiculous” and “racist,” consultants who work with Fortune 500 companies on issues of diversity said FINA’s decision is a learning moment not only for Olympic leaders but also for business leaders.

Corporate America has been engulfed in a racial reckoning ever since George Floyd’s murder in May 2020, and many experts said FINA’s swim-cap ban highlights a problematic status quo. Decision-makers must not only welcome opportunities to be inclusive, these experts told Insider, but also question whom these standards of dress and behavior are serving.

“When we talk about something like the Afro cap not conforming to the ‘natural shape of the head’ – Well, the natural shape of whose head exactly?” said Tiffany Jana, the founder of the diversity, equity, and inclusion consulting firm TMI who works with Fortune 500 companies.

A lesson for all leaders

Maritza McClendon portrait in a pool
Maritza McClendon, a 2004 Olympic silver medalist and the first Black woman to make a US Olympic swim team, said the ban excluded diversity that the sport “so desperately needs.”

The backlash against FINA has been swift.

Soul Cap has spoken out against the ruling, saying it discourages many younger athletes from underrepresented backgrounds from pursuing the sport. And an online petition for FINA to remove the ban has garnered more than 59,000 signatures.

That FINA snubbed the opportunity to be more inclusive is a lesson for business leaders, said Jana, the author of “Subtle Acts of Exclusion.”

Jana, who is nonbinary, called the decision “utterly ridiculous” and “a demonstration of white supremacy.” “What is being stated is that the white standard is normal, that it is best, and that it is what’s acceptable.”

Some writers have said that FINA’s language is reminiscent of phrenology, a pseudoscience from the 1800s involving the measurement of bumps on the skull to predict mental traits. It was used to argue that nonwhite people were inferior because of the shapes of their heads.

Jana said the decision showed a lack of historical and emotional awareness and “overall intelligence.” Kerryn Agyekum, a DEI principal at the consultancy The Raben Group, agreed. Both said it’s no longer OK for leaders to not be aware of how racism has influenced their sector, field, or even company or sport.

Stop policing Black and other nonwhite bodies

There’s a parallel to draw between the ban on the Afro swim cap and the ban, in many professional spaces, of braids, locs, and other ways Black people care for their hair.

Both bans, DEI experts said, are knowingly or unknowingly racist.

“It’s just another expression of how different people, their needs, their expressions, their well-being, and their way of being are not taken into consideration, honored, or privileged,” Jana said.

Oftentimes, the “standard” or “professional” way of doing things – whether in sports or the office – is how white, able-bodied, cisgender, heterosexual people have existed, Agyekum said. The US Army has gone through a reckoning regarding what hairstyles are and aren’t permitted, with new guidelines released this year that allow styles such as cornrows, braids, and ponytails.

The CROWN Act, a bill that prevents workplace discrimination based on one’s hair texture or style, has passed in 11 states, including New York and California. Still, there is no law preventing such discrimination on the national level.

But business leaders shouldn’t wait for the CROWN Act. They should question the status quo, Jana said, and stop policing Black and other nonwhite bodies, or making it harder for them to exist in work spaces.

For example, leaders should reexamine workplace rules around presentation, adjust healthcare policies to include trans and nonbinary people, and make sure their offices are accessible to differently abled people.

“Historically, there was a lack of the ability for Black people to actually swim in pools that were for whites only. Now you have this generation of people who don’t know how to swim for that reason. In the present day, now hair becomes the issue,” Agyekum said. “It’s about exclusion.”

Workplace culture and sports culture can change, Jana said, but only if leaders are willing to put in the work. Take, for example, how women have made gains in the professional world. Many companies now have lactation rooms, offer free menstruation products such as pads, and offer paid parental leave.

“This only happened after we stopped and took a hard pause,” Jana said.

Embrace mistakes to usher in progress

No leader or organization will always get things right, especially when it comes to diversity, equity, and inclusion. But it’s what leaders do after they make a mistake that defines what they stand for, DEI consultants said.

“You don’t get from institutionalized slavery and racism to any kind of international, global utopia without tripping, without learning,” Jana said. “What I’m interested in now is what FINA does next.”

In order for FINA to be an anti-racist organization, Jana said, its committee should not only withdraw the ban but also issue an apology and commit to a full review of its practices.

“Show me you’re doing the work,” Jana said.

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The Tokyo 2020 Olympics may cost more than $26 billion – and the estimate keeps rising

  • The cost to put on the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo is estimated at more than $26 billion.
  • Postponing the games for one year added another $2.8 billion to the estimated total.
  • The Japanese public is largely opposed to holding the games, and there’s still a chance they will be canceled.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Tokyo’s 2020 Olympics are already the most expensive summer games ever.

And that’s before the games have even taken place.

The Japanese public is largely against holding the Olympics, and there’s no guarantee they will happen at all. Now, the City of Tokyo, the International Olympic Committee, and athletes themselves are bleeding cash to keep the dream alive.

Watch the story on Business Insider Today »

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