The opening ceremony at the Olympic Games has become a major entertainment spectacle, costing many millions of dollars to stage. It has come a long way since the first opening ceremonies held during the 1908 Olympic Games in London, where for the first time, athletes marched into the stadium behind their nations' flags.
During the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games, tradition dictates that the procession of athletes is always led by the Greek team, followed by all the other teams in alphabetical order (based on the language of the hosting country), except for the last team which is always the team of the hosting country.
The IOC has two official languages English and French. Both languages are used to introduce competitors.
Opening Ceremony Trivia
- The first opening ceremony was organized by Regent Street Polytechnic.
- At the first opening ceremony in 1908, the team from Finland refused to carry a flag when they were told that they would have to march under the flag of Russia.
- At the 1912 Olympic Games opening ceremony, Finland's team paraded under the national insignia flag of a Swedish-speaking female gymnastics club in Helsinki. Finland was part of the Russian Empire at the time, but competed separately.
- During the opening ceremony of the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games, athletes from Liechtenstein were shocked to discover that their flag was identical to the flag of Haiti. After the games, a yellow crown was added to the flag of Liechtenstein.
- Leading up to the Rio Games in 2016, American broadcasters NBC requested that the order of countries in the opening parade of nations be in English language order, so that the American team would march later in the program. It was worried it would lose viewers if they marched in their correct order, which in Portuguese the US marched with the E's (as in - Estados Unidos).
- Paris 2024 has announced the River Seine will serve as the venue of the Olympic Games Opening Ceremony, with athletes set to travel in boats during a six-kilometre route during the spectacle.
- Other Olympic Traditions