Olympic Opening Ceremony: Parade of Nations Order Explained

Here’s how the order of the Parade of Nations is determined

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When the 2022 Winter Olympics commences with its Opening Ceremony Friday morning in Beijing, athletes representing 90 countries from around the globe will step out together and share the international stage.

The Olympics Opening Ceremony, like any showcase event, must have a bit of order to make sure it's not total chaos.

And what better what to organize thousands of athletes than by slotting them in the Parade of Nations.

Parade of Nations, how does that work? Good question.

Let's break down some of the basics before the Olympic torch is lit.

What is the Parade of Nations at the Olympics Opening Ceremony?

It is the world’s first official introduction to that year’s Olympians, although some events have actually already started prior to the Opening Ceremony.

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Athletes from the 90 countries participating in the 2022 Winter Olympics will march their way into the Olympic stadium behind their flag, quite literally making it a parade of nations.

The parade has been an Olympic ritual since the first march at the 1908 Games in London.

Which country marches first in the Parade of Nations? 

Greece, the nation where the Olympics originated thousands of years ago and where the first modern Games took place in 1896, is recognized for its founding role by getting a spot at the front of the line.

Which country marches last in the Parade of Nations?

The host country is like the grand marshal in the Parade of Nations. 

That honor this year goes to China, which last hosted the 2008 Summer Olympics.

Future Olympic host countries move to the end of the order to add prominence to their march. Just before China will be Italy, hosts of the 2026 Winter Olympics in Milano Cortina.

What is the Parade of Nations full marching order?

The countries in between are arranged in alphabetical order. But remember, that’s alphabetical order in the language of the host country. 

Here’s an interactive look at the full Parade of Nations marching order for the 2022 Winter Olympics.

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