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When does each country march during Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony?

Greece traditionally leads the parade, regardless of its place in the alphabet, because that is where the Olympics originated. The host country enters last.

Next to the lighting of the Olympic cauldron, nothing may be more exciting at the Opening Ceremony of the Beijing Winter Olympics than the Parade of Nations, when all the athletes competing at the Games march behind their respective flags.

Generally, the order each country enters depends on the alphabet of the host nation, in this case, China. The Beijing Olympics Organizing Committee decided it would go with the stroke order of the first character each country's name in Simplified Chinese.

Greece traditionally leads the parade, regardless of its place in the alphabet, because that is where the Olympics originated. The host country enters last.

The International Olympic Committee recently changed the rules to have the hosts of the next Olympics enter right before the host nation. Italy will welcome the world for the Winter Games in 2026, so its athletes will enter before the Chinese.

Representatives from 91 nations are taking part, including about 80% of the U.S. delegation of athletes.

But as Bloomberg notes, the alphabetical order isn't a hard rule. Iran and Israel were separated by Italy during the 2018 Winter Olympics opening ceremony, possibly for political reasons. The IOC reportedly said at the time the change was made "to reflect the appropriate protocols."

The team of Russian athletes will be the official midpoint of the parade. They’re here competing under the Olympic emblem and not the Russian flag, part of the sanctions handed down to that nation’s Olympic committee for doping scandals such as the one that overshadowed the 2014 Sochi Games.

Opening Ceremony Country Order for Winter Olympics

Here is what order the countries will enter the stadium at the Opening Ceremony. NBC will show it live on air and by livestream at 6:30 a.m. EST Friday, due to the 13-hour time difference. It will re-air at 8 p.m. EST on NBC.

  1. Greece 
  2. Turkey 
  3. Malta 
  4. Madagascar 
  5. Malaysia 
  6. Ecuador 
  7. Eritrea 
  8. Jamaica 
  9. Belgium 
  10. Japan
  11. Chinese Taipei 
  12. Hong Kong 
  13. Denmark 
  14. Ukraine 
  15. Uzbekistan 
  16. Brazil 
  17. Pakistan
  18. Israel 
  19. East Timor 
  20. North Macedonia 
  21. Luxembourg 
  22. Belarus 
  23. India 
  24. Lithuania 
  25. Nigeria 
  26. Ghana 
  27. Canada 
  28. San Marino 
  29. Kyrgyzstan 
  30. Armenia 
  31. Spain 
  32. Liechtenstein 
  33. Iran 
  34. Hungary 
  35. Iceland 
  36. Andorra 
  37. Finland 
  38. Croatia 
  39. Saudi Arabia 
  40. Albania 
  41. Argentina 
  42. Azerbaijan 
  43. Latvia 
  44. Great Britain 
  45. Romania 
  46. Russian Olympic Committee
  47. France 
  48. Poland 
  49. Puerto Rico 
  50. Bosnia and Herzegovina 
  51. Bolivia 
  52. Norway 
  53. Kazakhstan 
  54. Kosovo 
  55. Bulgaria 
  56. United States 
  57. American Samoa 
  58. Virgin Islands
  59. Thailand 
  60. Netherlands 
  61. Georgia 
  62. Colombia 
  63. Trinidad and Tobago 
  64. Peru 
  65. Ireland 
  66. Estonia 
  67. Haiti 
  68. Czech Republic 
  69. Philippines 
  70. Slovenia 
  71. Slovakia 
  72. Portugal 
  73. South Korea 
  74. Montenegro 
  75. Chile 
  76. Austria 
  77. Switzerland 
  78. Sweden 
  79. Mongolia 
  80. New Zealand 
  81. Serbia 
  82. Cyprus 
  83. Mexico 
  84. Lebanon 
  85. Germany 
  86. Moldova 
  87. Monaco 
  88. Morocco 
  89. Australia 
  90. Italy 
  91. China

Why isn't the Parade of Nations in alphabetical order?

That's a trick question. It is, just not alphabetical in English. 

According to the International Olympic Committee, the order for the Beijing Olympics Parade of Nations is alphabetical according to the language of the host country. 

Since these Olympic Games are being hosted in China, the order is determined by the number of strokes in the Chinese characters. And even then there are some exceptions.

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