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How to watch the Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony on Friday morning

A man is seen through a display of the Olympic rings in Tokyo.
The Olympic rings in front of the Japan National Stadium in Tokyo, site of the opening ceremony for the Tokyo Olympic Games.
(Jae C. Hong / Associated Press)
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After a yearlong delay because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 29th Olympic Summer Games will officially start Friday with the traditional opening ceremony celebration. Here’s a breakdown of everything you need to know about the Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony.

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How to watch the opening ceremony

A man walks with a mask on with New National Stadium in the distance in Tokyo.
New National Stadium is the venue for the opening and closing ceremonies at the Tokyo Olympic Games.
(Jae C. Hong / Associated Press)

NBC and NBCOlympics.com will broadcast the opening ceremony live, starting at 3:55 a.m. PDT on Friday. NBC will also broadcast three encores, starting with expanded coverage of the ceremony in prime time and two more replays.

The event is scheduled to last 3½ hours. Here’s a breakdown of the broadcast times (all PDT):

Live opening ceremony coverage: 3:55 a.m.–8 a.m.

Expanded prime-time opening ceremony coverage: 4:30 p.m.-9 p.m.

Friday night encore: 9:10 p.m.-1:10 a.m.

Saturday morning replay: 2:13 a.m.–5 a.m.

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When will the opening ceremony take place in Japan?

The sun shines above an image of the Olympic rings at Yokohama Baseball Stadium.
The sun shines above the Olympic rings at Yokohama Baseball Stadium on Thursday.
(Matt Slocum / Associated Press)

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The opening ceremony will take place at 8 p.m. local time in Tokyo. With Japan being 16 hours ahead of the West Coast of the United States, the event starts at 4 a.m. PDT.

During NBC’s prime-time broadcast of the opening ceremony, some events, including 3-on-3 basketball, rowing and archery will be underway Saturday morning in Tokyo.

The opening ceremony will take place at Japan National Stadium (also known as Olympic Stadium), the site of the Olympic track and field events.

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Who will be the flag bearers for the U.S. delegation?

WNBA All-Star and four-time Olympic gold medalist Sue Bird plays during a game.
WNBA All-Star and four-time Olympic gold medalist Sue Bird will be one of two U.S. flag bearers during the opening ceremony.
(John Locher / Associated Press)

WNBA star Sue Bird and two-sport Olympic athlete Eddy Alvarez will lead the U.S. delegation into Japan National Stadium after being selected as the American flag bearers in a vote by Team USA athletes.

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Bird has won four gold medals for the U.S. in women’s basketball since her debut at the 2004 Athens Games. Alvarez, an infielder on the U.S. men’s baseball team, won silver at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics in short-track speedskating.

Although more than 600 athletes will represent the U.S. in the Games, about 230 are expected to take part in the parade of nations at the opening ceremony.

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Will fans be allowed to attend the opening ceremony?

Thomas Bach bumps elbows with John Coates and Annastacia Palaszczuk.
President of the International Olympic Committee Thomas Bach, right, bumps elbows with John Coates and Annastacia Palaszczuk, members of the Brisbane 2032 Olympics delegation, on Wednesday.
(Toru Hanai / Associated Press)

Japanese Olympic officials are barring fans from attending the opening ceremony because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic in the country. There will still be plenty of people at the 68,000-seat stadium during the ceremony, however.

About 10,000 people, including International Olympic Committee officials, Japanese Olympic officials, diplomats, dignitaries and sponsors will be attending. Performers and members of the media will also be present as will athletic personnel from the 206 nations, and entities represented in the Olympic Games.

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How to watch and stream the Olympics

Japan National Stadium, site of the opening and closing ceremonies for the Tokyo Olympic Games.
Japan National Stadium, site of the opening and closing ceremonies for the Tokyo Olympic Games.
(Carl Court / Getty Images)

NBCUniversal has exclusive U.S. broadcasting rights for the Tokyo Olympics. NBC, USA, CNBC, NBCSN, the Olympic Channel, Golf Channel, Peacock and NBCOlympics.com will have extensive coverage throughout the Games, which run through Aug. 3.

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