What Time are Prelims and Finals for the 2016 Rio Olympics?

2016 Rio Olympic Games

  • August 6th-13th, 2016
  • Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

“What time does swimming start at the Olympics where I live?”

Much of a story has been told about the 10PM start time for the finals sessions of swimming at the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, primarily done to appease the American television audiences.

While the interests of the rest of the world may have been subjugated to those of the American audience, the rest of the world will still get a chance to watch it – if at less-convenient times.

Below is a table of selected major cities and the start times for prelims/finals. Hopefully this is a rich enough list for all of our readers to figure out their times, but if you have a specific city missing that you’re unsure about, leave a comment and we’ll hit you with your schedule.

Olympic Start Times, By Major City (Beginning August 6th)
Prelims Start Time Major Cities Finals Start Time
1:00 PM Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (HOST), Buenos Aires, Santiago, Brasilia 10:00 PM
2:00 PM Nuuk, Greenland 11:00 PM
3:00 PM Praia, Cape Verde Midnight
4:00 PM Reykjavik 1:00 AM
5:00 PM Edinburgh, Dublin, Glasgow, Casablanca, Tripoli, London, Lisbon 2:00 AM
6:00 PM Zurich, Milan, Brussels, Berlin, Budapest, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Vienna, Warsaw, Oslo, Paris, Rome, Barcelona, Amsterdam, Johannesburg, Cairo 3:00 AM
7:00 PM Tallinn, Tel Aviv, Kyiv, Sofia, Istanbul, Bucharest, Vilnius, Beirut, Doha, 4:00 AM
8:00 PM Moscow, Dubai, Baku, St. Petersburg, Kazan 5:00 AM
9:30 PM New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Islamabad 6:30 AM
11:00 PM Jakarta, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh, Bangkok 8:00 AM
Midnight Beijing, Taipei, Kowloon, Shanghai, Perth, Canton, Manila, Kuala Lumpur 9:00 AM
1:00 AM Tokyo, Seoul, Osaka, Incheon, Kyoto, Pyongyang, Kobe 10:00 AM
2:00 AM Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Canberra, Guam 11:00 AM
3:00 AM Norfolk Island, New Caledonia, Micronesia, Noon
4:00 AM Wellington, Christchurch, Auckland 1:00 PM
5:00 AM Pago Pago 2:00 PM
6:00 AM Honolulu 3:00 PM
7:00 AM Gambier Islands 4:00 PM
8:00 AM Juneau, Anchorage, Fairbanks 5:00 PM
9:00 AM Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Portland, Las Vegas, Vancouver 6:00 PM
10:00 AM Denver, Salt Lake City, Calgary, Edmonton, Galapagos Islands 7:00 PM
11:00 AM Chicago, Houston, Mexico City, Guadalajara, Dallas, St. Lous, Minneapolis, Omaha, Bogota 8:00 PM
Noon New York City, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., Miami, Louisville, Toronto, Ottawa, Quebec, Caracas 9:00 PM


  1. dmswim says:

    As someone who swims in the mornings before work, this late schedule for the east coast is killing me!

  2. Years of Plain Suck says:

    @Braden How many SwimSwam-connected people do you have going to Rio to cover the swimming?

  3. bobo gigi says:

    Finals at 4 AM in France in 2008. 10 AM for the athletes in Beijing.
    Finals at 3 AM in France in 2016. 10 PM for the athletes in Rio.
    With the usual start at 6 PM for finals, it would have been at 1 PM in France in 2008 and 11 PM in France in 2016.
    And the athletes would have been respected.
    Thank you very much to NBC and its dictatorship! And thank you very much to IOC to say “Amen” to NBC!

    And some track and field finals in the morning! Like the men’s triple jump final at 9.50 AM or the women’s 10000m final at 11.10 AM in Rio! I don’t know who has decided that infamy but that’s absolutely shameful!

    • Rafael says:

      Women 10000m final near noon! If it is hot we will see some major problems.. and many will put the blame on Rio and not on NBC!

    • Myshkin says:

      I agree 100%.. (I’m in the Chicago time zone) This is about the athletes… the rest of us can deal with the broadcast times. I know I’ve never minded a bit when I’ve had to get up at 3 or 4 in the morning to watch something. it even added to the excitement.

    • Carmen Escobar says:

      I was going to comment the same as you did! So thank you for saying it! Shame on the IOC!! There is a long list of stupidities that the IOC has done and it needs to stop… Athletes and coaches first!!!

      • spagettigirl says:

        Don’t we all agree the the IOC needs to be abolished – Can all nations come together and overthrow them?

    • Prickle says:

      No spectators – no professional sport. There is no reason to compete if nobody pays for watching it. Olympics Games are not exactly professional sport by declaration but actually it is. On one hand I understand what is causing the above complains on the other one it is similar to complains of having bad sits at stadium. Also you don’t complain when the important soccer game runs under heavy rain not allowing the favorite team to demonstrate the full advantage. Or NFL play-offs are not postponed because of freezing cold and snow. Enjoy the competition from your sits and stop complaining that it is not an owner’s box 🙂

    • Attila the Hunt says:

      Bobo moncheri,
      When TF1 or Canal+ pay 2 billions to IOC, you can have swimming schedule at your most convenient time.

    • Coachandy says:

      Vive LePen!

  4. david says:

    2AM are you kidding me
    That was the same for me in 2008

  5. Mary-Helen Hopkins says:

    Isn’t 10 pm for the swimmers themselves awfully late to be swimming? Am I understanding this correctly? 10 pm for swimming finals in Rio? The times should be set up optimum for the athletes, not the viewers, IMHO!!

  6. Splash says:

    I must say, life is a lot easier when you’re in the same time zone as a major meet for watching it

    • Rafael says:

      Splash I am in the same time zone, and having some important sports near midnight… it not that easy..

      • Splash says:

        I guess that I meant that I don’t have to guess what the start times are for me, it’s a lot easier when you don’t have to do the math between different time zones

  7. different swim says:

    what is the start date?

  8. Quinn says:

    Nice 9am and 6pm perfect:))

  9. The Grand Inquisitor says:

    I recommend this as the best organized Rio coverage with very detailed event schedules and corresponding event result links: BBC Sport Rio 2016.
    You just need to adjust the listed times to your local time zone.

    In contract, NBC’s website is pretty awful.
    It does have the huge benefit of providing links to live streaming by sport but otherwise provides very little actual information besides promoting their broadcast. I’m guessing you will probably will need a cable provider log-in to use the streaming.

    Using the best of the two together seems like the way to go.

  10. JerDawg says:

    Will the west coast of US get to watch the races live? So often we get them on tape delay. Does anyone know?

  11. Rio says:

    I guess people in europe will not watch swimming….3am..

  12. SHM says:

    2am final start ahh feels like punishment for having such a great time during my home Olympics 4 years ago ugh
    But the races will be worth being without sleep for a week ha

  13. Steve Nolan says:

    I mean, the times were gonna be messed up for plenty of regions no matter when they held ’em. They just like to normalize ’em for the US.


  14. Karim says:

    Cairo, Egypt schedule please

  15. Karim says:

    Cairo, Egypt schedule please

  16. Rangi_maru says:


  17. Caroline says:

    What about Atlanta??

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About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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