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What to watch Thursday night, Friday morning at the Tokyo Olympics

Six rowing events are set to take place before Friday's opening ceremony officially begins the Games.
Image: Tokyo Olympics
Polly Swann and Helen Glover of Team Great Britain Women's Pair during a training session ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games on July 22, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan.Naomi Baker / Getty Images
/ Source: NBC Sports

Each day of the Tokyo Games, NBC Olympics will provide a rundown of the biggest athletes and the biggest events to watch across a variety of sports. Every single event can be streamed live on and the NBC Sports app, and many can also be seen on the television networks of NBC. For even more events, visit the Olympic schedule page to find listings for specific sports or TV networks.

With the opening ceremony on tap, most Olympic sports are on hiatus. Fans looking to get their fill of competition will be able to turn to rowing, which has several hours of preliminary heats on the schedule, but the main attraction is set to take place inside Tokyo Stadium and be broadcast live around the world.


A total of six rowing events (listed below) will get underway before the opening ceremony festivities commence. Although the United States won't be represented in any of the three men's events, it will have a boat entered in all three of the women's events, with 2019 world bronze medalist Kara Kohler considered a medal hopeful in single sculls.

These will be the first of several rounds of racing in the men's and women's singles sculls. The competition will stretch across the entire duration of the Olympic rowing calendar with both finals set for July 30.

Coverage of Day 0's preliminary heats will start at 7:30 p.m. ET and is expected to run shortly past 11 p.m. ET.

Men's/Women's Single Sculls Heats, Men's/Women's Double Sculls Heats, Men's/Women's Quadruple Sculls Heats

  • Start Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: NBCSN
  • Live Stream: Watch


Although some preliminary competition has already begun, the opening ceremony marks the official beginning of the Games. Tokyo Stadium will be the venue for this year's spectacle, and while it won't be filled with fans, millions of people from all around the world will be tuning in as they do for each Olympics.

It remains to be seen what organizers have in store given the event's unique circumstances, but many of the most popular traditions — including the Parade of Nations and the lighting of the Olympic torch — will still be part of the show.

This year, U.S. viewers will have more options than ever for watching the opening ceremony. With the show starting early in the morning (6:55 a.m. ET), NBC will have a special morning broadcast live across all time zones, and it will also stream live on and the NBC Sports app. NBC's traditional prime time broadcast, which will feature special coverage of Team USA not included in the live version, will still air at 7:30 p.m. ET on Friday evening.

Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony

  • Start Time: 6:55 a.m. ET
  • TV Channel: NBC
  • Live Stream: Watch