The long awaited 2020 Tokyo Olympics have finally arrived. Here is what to expect from the games this year, along with events and athletes to keep an eye on. (Image Source: Creative Bloq)

By Alexandra Bull | @ally_bull19

The 2020 Olympic Games begin this week, with the opening ceremony being held this Friday, July 23.

The games, which were postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, were supposed to be held this time last year.

While Tokyo is the official host of the games, several other cities and towns will hold different events, with Mount Fuji hosting the road cycling and Tsurigasaki Surfing Beach hosting the surfing, which is a new Olympic event.

This is the second time that Tokyo has held the games, the first being in 1964 which was the first time the games were held in an Asian country.

In a normal year, the Olympics would host over 11,000 athletes; however, numbers have been significantly scaled back this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The games will host no spectators as Tokyo entered a state of emergency at the start of July due to rising COVID-19 cases. They are still receiving extreme backlash from Japanese citizens who have called for the games to be cancelled.

The city of Tokyo is averaging just over 1,000 cases per day, with the first COVID-19 case recorded in the athlete’s village over the weekend.

Alex de Minaur (tennis) has been forced to withdraw from the Olympics after he tested positive to COVID-19 while at Wimbledon.

Liz Cambage (basketball) has also pulled out of the Tokyo Games citing mental health struggles and fears of being without a support network inside the Olympic bubble. 

Australia has sent over 487 athletes from 33 different sports, with 307 of those athletes debuting in their first Olympic Games.

A few South Australian athletes to look out for are Alexander Hill (rowing), Angus Dawson (rowing), Kurtis Marschall (pole vault), Dane Sampson (shooting) and Molly Goodman (rowing), just to name few.

The Olympics will officially open with the men’s single scull events on Friday July 23, with some events such as softball and men’s and women’s soccer beginning on July 21, with Australian athletes competing in both the softball and soccer events.

The first official event that Australian athletes will compete in is on Saturday, July 24 at 9:30 AM (ACST), when the Kookaburras take on the Japanese men’s hockey team.

Australia is typically competitive in a number of events including field hockey, cycling (particularly track), rowing, equestrian and sailing.  

All eyes will be on the Boomers and the Opals who both, respectively, defeated USA basketball teams in exhibition matches in Las Vegas last week, as well as Patty Mills who is one of two flag bearers for this year’s games, with Cate Campbell (swimming) the other.

Ash Barty (tennis) will also be looking to consolidate her title as world number one, when she eventually takes on world number two Naomi Osaka, making it a showdown for the ages.

Homegrown swimming star Kyle Chalmers will also be looking to back up his strong 2016 Olympic performance, competing in the men’s freestyle 100m, men’s 4x100m freestyle and men’s 4x100m medley.

While the official events do not begin until Friday, you can watch the Tokyo Olympics on Channel 7 and on Channel 7 Plus from today at 9:30 AM (ACST), Wednesday July 21, when Australia takes on Japan in the opening round of the softball.