How Long is the 2021 Olympics Opening Ceremony?

olympics opening ceremony 2021 how long

Getty Tokyo Olympic Stadium is pictured from Shibuya Sky Deck on July 22, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan.

It’s finally time for the summer games as athletes from around the globe gather for the 2021 Olympics opening ceremony. The opening ceremony will be livestreamed from Tokyo and replayed for prime time TV on NBC.

The opening ceremony is scheduled to last about four hours beginning at 7 a.m. Eastern time Friday, July 23, 2021. NBC will begin broadcast of the opening ceremony at 6:55 a.m., and it is scheduled to conclude at 11 a.m., according to NBC. You can watch the livestream of the opening ceremony here.

The opening ceremony will be replayed during prime time beginning at 7:30 p.m. Eastern time, NBC reported.

Here’s what you need to know:


Viewers Will Have 2 Chances to Watch the Opening Ceremony & NBC Will Continue Olympics Coverage All Day

Following the opening ceremony, NBC will broadcast a special edition of TODAY including reactions and interviews with athletes, then “NBC’s first-ever Olympic Daytime show on the opening Friday of the Games,” NBC said in its news release.

The opening ceremony will be aired a second time beginning at 7:30 p.m. Eastern time Friday, NBC reported. Tokyo is 13 hours ahead of the East Coast, so for athletes in Tokyo, the ceremony begins at 8 p.m. Eastern time while it is only 7 a.m. in New York City.

“In order to provide viewers with the opportunity to share this historic experience with people from around the world as it happens, the Tokyo Opening Ceremony will also be broadcast live on NBC across all time zones starting at 6:55 a.m. ET/3:55 a.m. PT, including participation by TODAY anchors who viewers welcome into their homes each morning,” NBC reported. “It can also be streamed live in the NBC Sports app and on NBCOlympics.com. This marks the first time NBC Olympics will broadcast an Opening Ceremony live in the morning. With Tokyo 13 hours ahead of the east coast of the United States, the Opening Ceremony begins at 8 p.m. in Japan, which is 7 a.m. ET/4 a.m. PT.”

The opening ceremony will also include the Parade of Nations, which NBC described as “the heart of any Opening Ceremony, which will be especially meaningful this year.” The Olympic games will be the first major gathering of nations since the global pandemic spread across the world, NBC reported.


Japan’s Previous Prime Minister Shinzo Abe Dressed Up As Mario at the Close of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games

Few details were disclosed ahead of the 2021 Olympic games to hint at the theme of Tokyo’s opening ceremony. USA Today reported that many opening ceremonies have celebrated the history of the host country. But the closing ceremony of the 2016 Olympics in Rio hinted that Japan might take a more modern approach.

“Japanese opening ceremonies have celebrated the nation’s ancient history,” USA Today reported. “This year, there may be a more modern approach. Previous Prime Minister Shinzo Abe dressed up as Mario during the handover at the Rio Olympics closing ceremony. Many expect another appearance by the mascot as the opening ceremony may dedicate itself to Japan’s influence on modern technology and pop culture.”

The news outlet anticipated that the ceremony will be more somber than previous Olympic games, but also showcase gratitude.

“Details about the content of the opening ceremony remain largely under wraps, though it is expected to have more of a somber, thankful note than other recent ceremonies, with COVID-19 likely to be a major theme,” USA Today reported. “It will all fit the theme ‘Moving Forward,’ with Tokyo 2020 officials wanting to ‘Reaffirm the role of sport and the value of the Olympic Games.'”

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