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Want to watch the Summer Olympics? Prepare to flip the channel a lot

Japan's National Stadium will host the Opening Ceremony for the postponed 2020 Summer Games at 7 a.m. EDT Friday in Tokyo. File Photo by Keizo Mori/UPI
Japan's National Stadium will host the Opening Ceremony for the postponed 2020 Summer Games at 7 a.m. EDT Friday in Tokyo. File Photo by Keizo Mori/UPI | License Photo

July 22 (UPI) -- Sports fans who want to watch many of the 339 events at 2020 Summer Games from Japan must do some channel hopping over the next three weeks. NBC plans to provide content on various TV networks, streaming services, apps and more.

Competitions started Wednesday with soccer and softball, but Friday's Opening Ceremony is considered the official start of the games. The event will air live from Tokyo's National Stadium at 7 a.m. EDT on NBC network affiliates.

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Olympic events also will air on USA, CNBC, NBCSN, Olympic Channel, Golf Channel, Peacock, NBCOlympics.com and the NBC Sports app through Aug. 8.

Click here for NBC's full broadcast schedule in Eastern time. Tokyo time is 13 hours ahead of Eastern Daylight Time.

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Gymnast Simone Biles, soccer players Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe, track star Allyson Felix, basketball greats Kevin Durant and Sue Bird, golfer Bryson DeChambeau and MLB veteran Todd Frazier are among the top American athletes to watch compete at a variety of Japanese venues.

"I'm just proud of making it to this moment," Felix told reporters last month at the Olympic Trials. "There has been so much that has gone into this. Many times, I wasn't sure it would be possible. I'm proud of just fighting and making a way."

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Opening Ceremony, schedule

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Most details about the Opening Ceremony, which typically features fireworks, dancing and singing, are kept private until the the day of the event. Viewers can expect the traditional parade of athletes.

Bird, a four-time Olympic gold medalist, and baseball infielder Eddy Alvarez will serve as the flag-bearers for the U.S. delegation at the Opening Ceremony.

About 11,000 athletes from 205 countries are expected to compete in 33 sports at the Olympics. The United States owns the most medals in Summer Games history and led the medal count in 2016 and 2012, while China earned the most medals in 2008.

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Karate, sport climbing, skateboarding and surfing will make their Olympic debuts this month.

New disciplines for traditional sports include men's and women's three-on-three basketball and BMX freestyle. Mixed gender team events will join the Tokyo 2020 slate, with track and swimming relays.

Softball and baseball will return for the first time since the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Japan is favored to win the gold medal in baseball. Team USA is the favorite in softball.

No major Olympic competitions take place the same day as the Opening Ceremony. The United States Women's National Team, which suffered an upset loss in its first soccer game Wednesday, faces New Zealand in its second game at 7:30 a.m. EDT Saturday on NBCSN.

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"You can feel the tightness," U.S. women's soccer star Megan Rapinoe told reporters Wednesday. "Obviously, there's no momentum in the crowds. You can sort of see and feel the space in a different way."

Men's and women's swimming finals air late Saturday and Sunday. The first skateboarding medal competitions also air those days.

The women's and men's tennis finals, women's 100-meter track final, the final round of the men's golf competition and swimming finals air July 31. Gymnastics finals and the men's 100-meter track final air Aug. 1.

The final Olympic weekend features the men's baseball final and women's basketball final Aug. 7. The Closing Ceremony is scheduled for 7 a.m. EDT Aug. 8 in Tokyo.

COVID-19 update

Tokyo remains in a state of emergency throughout the Summer Games. Several athletes have dropped out of the competition for COVID-19-related reasons.

Some stated concerns about organizers' restrictions, which include a ban on families and fans attending events. Officials reported Wednesday that 75 people linked to the Summer Games have tested positive since July 1, including six athletes.

On Tuesday, Toshiro Muto, the CEO of the Tokyo organizing committee, did not dismiss that the Summer Games could be canceled if COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Tokyo.

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"We can't predict what will happen with the number of coronavirus cases. So we will continue discussions if there is a spike in cases," Muto told reporters.

Notable Olympians returning to Summer Games

Simone Biles stands on the floor after winning the gold medal in the floor exercise at the Olympic Arena of the Rio Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro on August 16, 2016. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

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