Athletes from 206 nations are set to descend upon Tokyo to compete across 339 events in an Olympics that has been more than a year in the making.
The coronavirus pandemic forced a one-year postponement of the traditional international competition that was scheduled for 2020. The virus could once again have an impact on the games, with head of the Tokyo Olympics organizing committee Toshiro Muto telling reporters that a late cancellation hasn't been ruled out.
For now, the games are still a go, and the opening ceremony is scheduled for early Friday morning in the States.
The ceremony will have a different feel compared to its predecessors. The games will host a limited number of spectators, and not all athletes will participate in the traditional pre-competition festivities. Marco Balich, a senior adviser to the Tokyo ceremonies executive producer, told Reuters to expect a "scaled down" and "sobering" ceremony.
Competition has started in some sports, but it doesn't really feel like the Olympics have started until the official opening ceremony. Here's the live-stream schedule as well as replay information to make sure you catch the action.
Olympic Opening Ceremony Coverage Schedule
Live Opening Ceremony Coverage: 6:55 a.m. -11:00 a.m.
Tokyo Olympics Daytime: 1 p.m. - 4 p.m.
Primetime Opening Ceremony: 7:30 p.m. - Midnight
Overnight Replay of Opening Ceremony: 12:35 a.m. - 5 a.m.
Early morning live stream can be found here.
Prime-time replay stream can be found here.
All times are ET
For the first time, the opening ceremony will include two flag bearers from each nation, with countries encouraged to choose one man and one woman for the honors. The United States' athletes have chosen Sue Bird and Eddy Alvarez to carry the Stars and Stripes.
Bird has won four gold medals as an Olympian and will seek her fifth with the women's basketball team. Having won her first medal in 2004, she has been a mainstay on the roster. Her first year also happens to be the last time a women's basketball player was chosen to be a flag bearer.
"It's an incredible honor to be selected the flag bearer for Team USA," Bird said, per ESPN. "I know what that means, because I got to witness Dawn Staley go through it when she was selected in 2004. It's an honor that is bigger than the moment in that you've been selected by your fellow Team USA athletes to represent the entire delegation, and it will last forever."
Eddy Alvarez will be on the hunt for a medal in a second sport. The Miami Marlins infielder won a silver medal as part of the 5,000-meter relay team in short-track speed skating at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.
Now, he'll try his hand at helping Team USA bring home the gold in baseball.
"It is an honor and a privilege to be named as one of the flag bearers by my fellow Team USA athletes for the Opening Ceremony," Alvarez said, per Brian Murphy of MLB.com. "Being a first-generation Cuban American, my story represents the American Dream. My family has sacrificed so much for me to have the opportunity to wave this flag proudly."
Other notable flag bearers who will be involved in the ceremony include the Washington Wizards' Rui Hachimura and two-time wrestling world champion Yui Susaki, who will carry the colors of the host country, Japan.
Without the traditional flair and grand circumstance of the opening ceremonies, a lot more focus will be placed on the athletes. That should provide some cool moments as some of these athletes have now been preparing for five years, with the next few weeks serving as the culmination of many sacrifices.