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Tokyo Olympics: How to watch track & field

Olympics track & field
(Image credit: Future)

The Tokyo Olympics are adding a handful of new sports this year (rock climbing and skateboarding), but the OG events of track & field will continue to be a focal point of the games.

Track & field consists of a multitude of different disciplines, including running, high jumping, pole vaulting, shot put, discus, decathlon and more. While sprinting usually draws the headlines and makes some of the biggest stars of the games (remember how Usain Bolt was appointment viewing), it’s always fun to watch the incredible feats of the slew of athletes competing in track & field.

Among the headliners for the Tokyo Olympics though are expected to be Jamaican sprinter Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, a two-time Olympic gold-medalist and who has run the fastest 100m split by a woman since Florence Griffith Joyner in 1988. 

The U.S. has some big name sprinters as well in Gold medalist Allyson Felix, now competing in the Olympics as a mom; Noah Lyles, the reigning world champ in the 200m. Other stars include Sydney McLaughlin, a Rio breakout and potential favorite in Tokyo for the hurdles; Ryan Crouser in shot put, who broke the long-standing steroid-era shot put record; and Erriyon Knight, a teenager who is already breaking some of Usain Bolt’s records. 

It may also be the final Olympics for Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya, arguably the greatest marathoner ever, defending gold medalist and the only person to ever run a sub two hour marathon (in a controlled environment).

Track & field kicks off at the Tokyo Olympics on July 29 and goes through Aug. 7 with the event that started it all back in ancient Greece, the marathon. Here’s how to watch all of the track & field events. Plus, here's a guide on how to watch all of the Tokyo Olympics.

Tokyo Olympics track & field schedule

July 29
8 p.m. ET, USA (full coverage) & NBC
- Events: Men’s 3000m Steeplechase, Round One; Men’s High Jump, Qualification; Men’s Discus Throw, Qualification; Women’s 800m, Round One; Men’s 400m, Round One; Women’s 100m, Round One

July 30
6 a.m. ET, Peacock
- Events: Women’s 5000m, Round One; Women’s Triple Jump, Qualification; Women’s Shot Put, Qualification; Mixed 4x400m Relay, Round One; Men’s 10,000m, Final

8 p.m. ET, USA (full coverage) & NBC
- Events: Women’s 400m Hurdles, Round One; Women’s Discus Throw, Qualification; Men’s Pole Vault, Qualification; Men’s 800m, Round One; Women’s 100m Hurdles, Round One; Men’s 100m, Preliminary Round

July 31
6 a.m. ET, Peacock
- Events: Men’s Long Jump, Qualification; Women’s 100m, Semifinals; Men’s 100m, Round One; Men’s Discus Throw, Final; Women’s 800m, Semifinal; Mixed 4x400m Relay, Final; Women’s 100m, Final

8:10 p.m. ET, USA
- Events: Women’s Hammer Throw, Qualification; Women’s 3000m Steeplechase, Round One; Women’s Long Jump, Qualification; Women’s Shot Put, Final; Men’s 400m, Round One

Aug. 1
6 a.m. ET, Peacock
- Events: Men’s High Jump, Final; Men’s 100m, Semifinals; Women’s 100m Hurdles, Semifinals; Women’s Triple Jump, Final; Men’s 800m, Semifinals; Men’s 400m Hurdles, Semifinals; Men’s 100m Final

8 p.m. ET, USA (full coverage) & NBC
- Events: Men’s Hammer Throw, Qualification; Women’s 1500m, Round One; Men’s Long Jump, Final; Women’s 200m, Round One; Women’s 100m Hurdles, Final

Aug. 2
6 a.m. ET, Peacock
- Events: Women’s Pole Vault, Qualification; Women’s 200m, Semifinals; Women’s Discus Throw, Final; Men’s 400m, Semifinals; Women’s 400m Hurdles, Semifinals; Men’s 3000m Steeplechase, Final; Women’s 5000m, Final

8 p.m. ET, CNBC (full coverage) & NBC
- Events: Men’s Triple Jump, Qualification; Men’s 1500m, Round One; Women’s Javelin Throw, Qualification; Women’s 400m, Round One; Women’s Long Jump, Final; Men’s 200m, Round One; Men’s 400m Hurdles, Final

Aug. 3
6 a.m. ET, Peacock
- Events: Men’s 110m Hurdles, Round One; Men’s Shot Put, Qualification; Men’s Pole Vault, Final; Men’s 5000m, Round One; Women’s Hammer Throw, Final; Men’s 200m, Semifinals; Women’s 800m, Final, Women’s 200m, Final

8 p.m. ET, USA (full coverage) & NBC
- Events: Men’s Decathlon, 100m; Men’s Javelin Thrown, Qualification; Women’s Heptathlon, 100m Hurdles; Men’s Decathlon, Long Jump; Women’s Heptathlon, High Jump; Men’s 110m Hurdles, Semifinals; Women’s 400m Hurdles, Final; Men’s Decathlon, Shot Put

Aug. 4
5:30 a.m. ET, Peacock
- Events: Men’s Decathlon, High Jump; Women’s 1500m, Semifinals; Women’s Heptathlon, Shot Put; Women’s 400m, Semifinals; Women’s 3000m Steeplechase, Final; Men’s Hammer Throw, Final; Women’s Heptathlon, 200m; Men’s 800m, Final; Men’s Decathlon, 400m; Men’s 200m, Final

8 p.m. ET, USA (full coverage) & NBC
- Events: Men’s Decathlon, 110m Hurdles; Women’s High Jump; Qualification; Women’s Heptathlon, Long Jump; Men’s Decathlon, Discus Throw; Women’s 4x100m Relay, Round One; Men’s Triple Jump, Final; Men’s Shot Put, Final; Men’s 4x100m Relay, Round One; Men’s 110m Hurdles, Final; Women’s Heptathlon, Javelin Throw; Men’s Decathlon, Pole Vault

Aug. 5
3:30 a.m. ET, NBCSN: 20km Walk Men’s Race

6 a.m. ET, Peacock
- Events: Men’s Decathlon, Javelin Throw; Women’s Pole Vault, Final; Women’s 4x400m Relay, Round One; Men’s 1500m, Semifinals; Men’s 400m, Final; Women’s Heptathlon, 800m; Men’s Decathlon, 1500m

4:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN: 50km Walk Men’s Race

Aug. 6

3:30 a.m. ET, NBCSN: 20km Walk Women’s Race

6:50 a.m. ET, Peacock
- Events: Men’s 4x400m Relay, Round One; Women’s Javelin Throw, Final; Men’s 5000m, Final; Women’s 400m, Final; Women’s 1500m, Final; Women’s 4x100m Relay, Final; Men’s 4x100m Relay, Final

6 p.m. ET, USA: Marathon, Women’s Race

Aug. 7
6 a.m. ET, Peacock
- Events: Women’s High Jump, Final; Women’s 10,000m, Final; Men’s Javelin Thrown, Final; Men’s 1500m, Final; Women’s 4x400m Relay, Final; Men’s 4x400m Relay, Final

6 p.m. ET, USA: Marathon, Men’s Race

How to watch Tokyo Olympics track & field events in the U.S.

Track & field will be a big part of NBC’s coverage of the second week of the Olympics. The events will get double coverage during primetime hours on NBC (mixed in with other events) and USA (offering full track & field coverage). Some coverage will also take place on CNBC and NBCSN.

NBC’s flagship network is available to viewers over TV antennas or as part of your basic cable packages, as well as vMVPD services like Fubo TV, Hulu with Live TV, Sling TV and YouTube TV. USA, CNBC and NBCSN are premium cable channels that are available through cable packages and on the above-mentioned vMVPD streaming services. 

In addition, if a viewer subscribes to any of these cable packages, they will be able to access NBC coverage of the Olympics through the NBC Sports app or NBCSports.com.

There will also be live track & field coverage that takes place in the morning hours here in the U.S., all of which will be available on Peacock, the NBCUniversal streaming service. Peacock will show these track & field events, which include marquee events like the men’s and women’s 100m finals, through its free Peacock tier. Peacock Premium, meanwhile, is the exclusive home for team USA men’s basketball. 

How to watch Tokyo Olympics track & field events in the U.K. 

Tokyo Olympics coverage in the U.K. is being split between BBC and Eurosport. Viewers can gain access to BBC either through a basic cable package or Freeview TV. Eurosport, meanwhile, is a premium cable channel.

In addition, both networks will offer streaming coverage of the games. Again, BBC, through its BBC iPlayer, can be watched for free for anyone who has a U.K. TV license. Eurosport Player does charge a monthly subscription fee; it can be included in either a Discovery Plus subscription for £4.99 or added as an Amazon Prime Video channel for £6.99.

How to watch Tokyo Olympics track & field events in Canada

Canadians will be able to watch the Tokyo Olympics, including all track & field events, through the CBC, TSN and Sportsnet. CBC’s broadcast TV schedule features four six-hour long broadcasting blocks that will provide a mix of coverage, while CBC Sports Streaming will provide live streams of all of the events on CBC Gem, through its dedicated Olympics website and on the CBC Olympics app.

How to watch Tokyo Olympics track & field events from anywhere

If you don’t have access to one of the these broadcast or streaming options, but have access to the internet, you can watch Tokyo Olympics coverage through a virtual private network. A VPN routes the network traffic to and from your computer through a specific set of servers in a specific country, allowing for users to watch content on an encrypted feed.  

ExpressVPN is one of the easiest and affordable ways to watch what you want from anywhere you want to watch it. Plus it'll help keep your network traffic away from any prying eyes on public networks.

And it's a great way to keep up with all of the action of the Olympics from anywhere in the world.View Deal

Michael Balderston

Michael Balderston is a D.C.-based entertainment writer and content producer for What to Watch. He previously has written for TV Technology and Awards Circuit.