Chasing Gold: The Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony is finally here ... almost. What do we know?

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·2 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

ONE MORE SLEEP until the Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony!

Early birds can watch the event live at 6:55 a.m. ET on NBC, but anyone who doesn't want to wake up with the sun can watch a tape-delayed version at 7:30 p.m. ET.

What do we know about this year's ceremony? Well, not much, really. Few questions have been answered about things like the number of athletes walking in the "Parade of Nations" or what the ceremony will consist of. The U.S. did announce on Wednesday that four-time Olympic gold medalist Sue Bird and dual Winter and Summer Olympian Eddie Alvarez will be the country's flag bearers.

The opening ceremony is also without two of its top organizers – due to revelations of questionable actions from their pasts. The ceremony's director was fired Thursday for making light of the Holocaust in a past comedy routine. One of the creative team's music directors stepped down after backlash for bullying disable classmates as a child.

Elsewhere, American first lady Jill Biden arrived in Japan on Thursday. She'll attend the opening ceremony as one of a select group of foreign dignitaries to be present alongside International Olympic Committee members, diplomats and Olympic sponsors. No fans are allowed at the event.

Olympic action already underway: The USWNT was shutout by Sweden on Wednesday, but Team USA softball beat Italy 2-0 on Tuesday and Canada 1-0 on Wednesday for a winning start to the sport's Olympic return. Men's soccer started Thursday – without the USMNT – and Mexico beat France 4-1.

COVID-19 cases rising: There's currently a five-person virus cluster among the Czech delegation stemming from a chartered flight. Another American athlete joined the list of people who've had to withdraw from the Tokyo Games due to a positive test. No one else on the U.S. women's gymnastics team has tested positive after alternate Kara Eaker did on Monday.

American athletes to watch: Simone Biles did the Yurchenko double pike vault twice during podium training Thursday. April Ross has been using nunchucks to help keep her shoulders healthy for beach volleyball. Frances Tiafoe is looking to keep Novak Djokovic from Olympic tennis gold.

And a reminder as the Olympics ramp up: you can text with our USA TODAY reporters in Tokyo! They're offering insights on everything from their travels to bear sightings and more. Sign up here.

Our morning sports newsletter will also help keep you up-to-date with everything overseas in Japan and stateside, like the NHL expansion draft that happened last night.

Don't miss a second of USA TODAY's Tokyo Olympics coverage:

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Opening ceremony begins Tokyo Olympics. What do we know?: Chasing Gold