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Decoding the order of the Olympic Opening Ceremony march, plus the list itself

The PyeongChang Olympics have officially begun, and already there’s confusion among casual viewers about the Opening Ceremony.

The 2018 Olympic Opening Ceremony hosted nearly 3,000 athletes from 92 countries, hitting the highest mark in the history of the Winter Olympics for participants. This incredible number makes the parade of nations a highlight of the ceremony. Every participating country, and technically even one non-participating country, are announced to the world and given the opportunity to wave their country’s flag proudly while donning their country’s colors, in this case in the form of heavy parkas, winter hats and gloves.

But in what order? Alphabetical? By continent?

The Opening Ceremony can be a lengthy endeavor, sometimes lasting three or more hours, making for a lot to take in as a viewer. The history of the parade of nations dates back to the 1908 London Games with the rules for the procession being established in 1928 at the Amsterdam Games.

There are three main rules that dictate the order of the countries during the procession: 

  • Greece marches first, in honor of the fact that the Olympics have their origin in ancient Greece.
  • The host nation goes last. This year at Pyeongchang, the South and North Korean delegation marched together under the unified Korean flag.
  • The remaining countries are ordered alphabetically in the language of the host nation. In the case of the Pyeongchang games, that will be Korean.

Inside the stadium, the announcers announce each country’s name in English, French and the dominant language of the area of the host city.

Erin Hamlin carries the flag of the United States delegation in PyeongChang. (AP)

In 2018 the United States leads the way in team size with 242 athletes, followed by Canada with 226 and then Switzerland with 171. Subsequently, the countries of Azerbaijan, Bermuda, Cyprus, Ecuador, Eritrea, Ghana, Kenya, Kosovo, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malta, Puerto Rico, South Africa, Singapore, San Marino, Tonga and the Democratic Republic of Timo-Leste post 17 athletes combined.

Here’s the full list and order of the parade of nations:

Position Country Country name in Korean
1 Greece 그리스
2 Ghana 가나
3 The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia 구유고슬라비아 마케도니아 공국
4 Nigeria 나이지리아
5 South Africa 남아리카 공국
6 Netherlands 네덜란드
7 Norway 노르웨이
8 New Zealand 뉴질랜드
9 Denmark 덴마
10 Germany 독일
11 Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste 동모르
12 Latvia 라비아
13 Olympic Athletes from Russia 러시아 출신 올림 선수
14 Lebanon 레바논
15 Romania 루마니아
16 Luxembourg 룩셈부르
17 Lithuania 리아니아
18 Liechtenstein 리슈인
19 Madagascar 마다가스카르
20 Malaysia 말레이시아
21 Mexico 멕시코
22 Monaco 모나코
23 Morocco 모로코
24 Montenegro 몬네그로
25 Republic of Moldova 몰도바
26 Malta
27 Mongolia 몽골
28 United States of America 미국
29 Bermuda 버뮤다
30 Belgium 벨기에
31 Belarus 벨라루스
32 Bosnia and Herzegovina 보스니아 르체고비나
33 Bolivia 볼리비아
34 Bulgaria 불가리아
35 Brazil 브라질
36 San Marino 산마리노
37 Serbia 세르비아
38 Sweden 스웨덴
39 Switzerland 스위스
40 Spain 스인
41 Slovakia 슬로바아
42 Slovenia 슬로베니아
43 Singapore 싱가르
44 Armenia 아르메니아
45 Argentina 아르나
46 Iceland 아이슬란드
47 Ireland 아일랜드
48 Azerbaijan 아제르바이잔
49 Andorra 안도라
50 Albania 알바니아
51 Eritrea 에리레아
52 Estonia 에스니아
53 Ecuador 에콰도르
54 Great Britain 영국
55 Australia 오스레일리아
56 Austria 오스리아
57 Uzbekistan 우즈베스
58 Ukraine 우라이나
59 Islamic Republic of Iran 이란
60 Israel 이스라엘
61 Italy 이리아
62 India 인도
63 Japan 일본
64 Jamaica 자메이카
65 Georgia 조지아
66 People’s Republic of China 중국
67 Chinese Taipei 차이니스 이베이
68 Czech Republic 체코
69 Chile 칠레
70 Kazakhstan 카자스
71 Canada 캐나다
72 Kenya 케냐
73 Kosovo 코소보
74 Colombia 콜롬비아
75 Croatia 로아아
76 Kyrgyzstan 르기스스
77 Cyprus 로스
78 Thailand
79 Turkey
80 Togo
81 Tonga
82 Pakistan
83 Portugal 르갈
84 Poland 란드
85 Puerto Rico 에르리코
86 France 랑스
87 Finland 란드
88 Philippines
89 Hungary 가리
90 Hong Kong, China
91 Korea 코리아

As for the rest of the ceremony, South Korea unveiled the brand new $109 million Olympic stadium to the public for the first time during the 2018 Opening Ceremony, and as far as a hundred million-dollar stadiums go, it seemed nice.

The high price tag for the structure breaks down into a $27.25 million per event cost of construction, considering the plans for using the stadium consist of four total events. By the end of the Opening Ceremony, the structure will have lived 25 percent of its life and cost more than several Olympic Games participating countries are worth.

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