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Get ready to watch the Opening Ceremony: Parade of nations

2012 London Olympics parade of nations
USA TODAY Sports

Get ready to watch the Opening Ceremony: Parade of nations

Marching with their fellow athletes in an Opening Ceremony is, for some, the pinnacle of their Olympic journey.

A parade of delegates made up of athletes and coaches from each participating nation made its debut at the 1908 Olympic Games in London.



United Kingdom Olympians Opening Ceremony 1908 London Olympic Games

The Opening Ceremony of the 1908 London Olympic Games saw the debut of a parade of athletes around the Olympic stadium. Credit: (C) 1908 / Comite International Olympique (CIO)

For the 1928 Amsterdam Olympic Games a new tradition was started which remains to this day: Greece's Olympians are honored by entering the Olympic stadium first and the delegation from the host nation enters last. The parade order for the rest of the delegations follows the alphabetical order of the native language of the host nation.



Parade of Nations Greece enters first Brazil enters last

It is tradition that the delegation from Greece enters the stadium first, while the host nation enters last during the Opening Ceremony parade of nations. Credit: Paul Drinkwater/NBC

The Portuguese alphabet will be used for the Parade of Nations during the Rio Opening Ceremony. English-speaking audiences will be able to easily follow the alphabetic sequence as it is identical to the alphabet they learned in school. It should be noted, K, W and Y are only used in Brazilian Portuguese in words which are borrowed from other languages.

Commonly selected by their national team peers, every delegation marches into the Opening Ceremony behind an athlete given the honor of carrying their country's flag. At the most recent Olympic Games in London, the task of leading Team USA into the Opening Ceremony was handed to fencer Mariel Zagunis.



Team USA fencer Mariel Zagunis carries the U.S. flag in the Opening Ceremony in 2012.

Team USA Fencer Mariel Zagunis carries the U.S. flag in 2012. Credit: Paul Drinkwater/NBC

Get ready to watch the Opening Ceremony

Click the options below for more details:

Olympic flame | Final torch bearer | Parade of nations

Athlete uniforms | Artistic program | Olympic flag and anthem

Olympic oath | Heads of state | Release of doves

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