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.

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Team USA at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics opening ceremony
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Team USA at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics opening ceremony
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 09: A general view as Flag bearer Erin Hamlin of the United States and teammates enter the stadium during the Opening Ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on February 9, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 09: Flag bearer Erin Hamlin of the United States and teammates enter the stadium during the Opening Ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on February 9, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 09: Team USA walks in the Parade of Athletes during the Opening Ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on February 9, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 09: Flag bearer Erin Hamlin of the United States and teammates enter the stadium during the Opening Ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on February 9, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Pool - Frank Fife/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 09: Snowboarder Shaun White and the United States Olympic team walk in the Parade of Athletes during the Opening Ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on February 9, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG, SOUTH KOREA FEBRUARY 9, 2018: Luger Erin Hamlin of the United States carries the US national flag during the Parade of Nations at the opening ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium. Valery Sharifulin/TASS (Photo by Valery Sharifulin\TASS via Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 09: Members of the United States Olympic team walk in the Parade of Athletes during the Opening Ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on February 9, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 09: Members of Team USA walk during the Opening Ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on February 9, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 09: Athletes from the United States take part in the teams parade during the Opening Ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on February 9, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 09: Snowboarder, Shaun White and Freestyle skiier Gus Kenworthy of The United States and teammates enter the stadiumduring the Opening Ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on February 9, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 09: Athletes from the United States take part in the teams parade during the Opening Ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on February 9, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 09: Members of Team USA walk during the Opening Ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on February 9, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 09: Flag bearer Erin Hamlin of the United States leads the team during the Opening Ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on February 9, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 09: Flag bearer Erin Hamlin of the United States and teammates enter the stadium during the Opening Ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on February 9, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG, SOUTH KOREA FEBRUARY 9, 2018: Luger Erin Hamlin of the United States carries the US national flag during the Parade of Nations at the opening ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium. Valery Sharifulin/TASS (Photo by Valery Sharifulin\TASS via Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 09: Flag bearer Erin Hamlin of the United States and teammates enter the stadium during the Opening Ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on February 9, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
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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:

PositionCountryCountry name in Korean
1Greece그리스
2Ghana가나
3The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia구유고슬라비아 마케도니아 공국
4Nigeria나이지리아
5South Africa남아리카 공국
6Netherlands네덜란드
7Norway노르웨이
8New Zealand뉴질랜드
9Denmark덴마
10Germany독일
11Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste동모르
12Latvia라비아
13Olympic Athletes from Russia러시아 출신 올림 선수
14Lebanon레바논
15Romania루마니아
16Luxembourg룩셈부르
17Lithuania리아니아
18Liechtenstein리슈인
19Madagascar마다가스카르
20Malaysia말레이시아
21Mexico멕시코
22Monaco모나코
23Morocco모로코
24Montenegro몬네그로
25Republic of Moldova몰도바
26Malta
27Mongolia몽골
28United States of America미국
29Bermuda버뮤다
30Belgium벨기에
31Belarus벨라루스
32Bosnia and Herzegovina보스니아 르체고비나
33Bolivia볼리비아
34Bulgaria불가리아
35Brazil브라질
36San Marino산마리노
37Serbia세르비아
38Sweden스웨덴
39Switzerland스위스
40Spain스인
41Slovakia슬로바아
42Slovenia슬로베니아
43Singapore싱가르
44Armenia아르메니아
45Argentina아르나
46Iceland아이슬란드
47Ireland아일랜드
48Azerbaijan아제르바이잔
49Andorra안도라
50Albania알바니아
51Eritrea에리레아
52Estonia에스니아
53Ecuador에콰도르
54Great Britain영국
55Australia오스레일리아
56Austria오스리아
57Uzbekistan우즈베스
58Ukraine우라이나
59Islamic Republic of Iran이란
60Israel이스라엘
61Italy이리아
62India인도
63Japan일본
64Jamaica자메이카
65Georgia조지아
66People’s Republic of China중국
67Chinese Taipei차이니스 이베이
68Czech Republic체코
69Chile칠레
70Kazakhstan카자스
71Canada캐나다
72Kenya케냐
73Kosovo코소보
74Colombia콜롬비아
75Croatia로아아
76Kyrgyzstan르기스스
77Cyprus로스
78Thailand
79Turkey 
80Togo
81Tonga
82Pakistan
83Portugal르갈
84Poland란드
85Puerto Rico에르리코
86France랑스
87Finland란드
88Philippines
89Hungary가리
90Hong Kong, China
91Korea코리아

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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