How to Choose the Order of Countries for the Parade of Nations?


Where is the United States marching in the inaugural parade of nations? If this is in alphabetical order, why is Yemen right after the A’s? And why does Russia take a first-class position?

The order of the parade of nations changes at almost every Olympics. The order is determined by date, language, and sometimes other factors.

Greece is always the first to enter the stadium, as the ancient Games originated there in 776 BC. The team is progressing under the name “IOC” and with the Japanese alphabet, which is alphabetically ahead of all other nations.

Coming right behind Greece is a fine honour, after all, for refugee athletes who face serious challenges even to participate in the Games. However, the third team to join does not usually cause similar emotional reactions among fans around the world.

Russia was banned from the Games because of its state-sponsored doping program. But Russian athletes can still compete, just not as “Russia” or behind the Russian flag. They will instead be known as the “ROC” for the Russian Olympic Committee, which is second in alphabetical order.

The nations of the world follow according to the Japanese alphabet. For English speakers, this would mean an adjustment. Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Uruguay are at the forefront of these Games. And right after it comes England, the British Virgin Islands, and then a group of countries that start with the letter E.

So when is the United States coming? Alphabetical variants mean they will be the third-to-last team, coming just ahead of France.

The last one is always the home team and Japan for these Games. Unfortunately, the usual roar of the home crowd will disappear when the host nation’s athletes arrive.


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