(Bloomberg)—After the opening ceremony at the Tokyo Olympics last summer, NBC, the official broadcaster of the event in the U.S., reported some viewers were “confused” at the order by which the teams entered.
That’s because the participating teams didn’t enter according to the English alphabetical order, but by the order set in the Japanese language. That meant Iceland entered second after Greece, which always comes first in what’s known as the Parade of Nations as it’s the historical founding nation of the Olympics.
Things get much more complicated at the coming winter games in China, however, as the Chinese language does not have an alphabet. Instead, indexing in the language for the opening ceremony is done according to stroke order, which arranges words based on how many strokes the first character of the word has, and then the order by which the strokes are written—the straight horizontal stroke comes before the straight vertical stroke, for example.
In the 2008 Beijing Olympics, that meant Guinea and Guinea Bissau entered after Greece, as the first character in their simplified Chinese (the system used in mainland China) names have just two strokes. Turkey followed in fourth place, as the first character in its name in Chinese has three strokes.
The host nation enters last, and is preceded by the host of the following games. At the upcoming winter games, that means Italy will march in the penultimate spot. Meanwhile, the Chinese Taipei delegation, as Taiwan is known at the Olympics, will be attending the event, reversing an earlier decision after the IOC said it was required to participate, the island’s Olympic committee said in a statement Monday.
The alphabetical order isn’t set in stone, though. At the winter games in Pyeongchang, South Korea in 2018, some teams entered out of the order dictated by the Korean alphabet, possibly due to political sensitivities. For example, Iran and Israel were separated by Italy in the opening ceremony against alphabetical order. A spokesperson for the International Olympic Committee said in a statement the decision to alter the order “was taken at the time to reflect the appropriate protocols,” without elaborating.
At the upcoming winter games, Israel, which marched before Japan in 2008 in Beijing, will enter after Pakistan and before Timor-Leste. The Russian Olympic Committee, which, by the same Chinese stroke order, should enter between Bulgaria and the U.S., is marching in earlier before France.
Here is the order by which 91 teams will march in at the Winter Olympics according to a list provided by the IOC shortly before the start of the event.
1 Greece 希腊 2 Turkey 土耳其 3 Malta 马耳他 4 Madagascar 马达加斯加 5 Malaysia 马来西亚 6 Ecuador 厄瓜多尔 7 Eritrea 厄立特里亚 8 Jamaica 牙买加 9 Belgium 比利时 10 Japan 日本 11 Chinese Taipei 中华台北 12 Hong Kong, China 中国香港 13 Denmark 丹麦 14 Ukraine 乌克兰 15 Uzbekistan 乌兹别克斯坦 16 Brazil 巴西 17 Pakistan 巴基斯坦 18 Israel 以色列 19 Timor-Leste 东帝汶 20 North Macedonia 北马其顿 21 Luxembourg 卢森堡 22 Belarus 白俄罗斯 23 India 印度 24 Lithuania 立陶宛 25 Nigeria 尼日利亚 26 Ghana 加纳 27 Canada 加拿大 28 San Marino 圣马力诺 29 Kyrgyzstan 吉尔吉斯斯坦 30 Armenia 亚美尼亚 31 Spain 西班牙 32 Liechtenstein 列支敦士登 33 Iran 伊朗 34 Hungary 匈牙利 35 Iceland 冰岛 36 Andorra 安道尔 37 Finland 芬兰 38 Croatia 克罗地亚 39 Saudi Arabia 沙特 40 Albania 阿尔巴尼亚 41 Argentina 阿根廷 42 Azerbaijan 阿塞拜疆 43 Latvia 拉脱维 44 Great Britain 英国 45 Romania 罗马尼亚 46 Russian Olympic Committee 俄罗斯奥林匹克委员会 47 France 法国 48 Poland 波兰 49 Puerto Rico波多黎各 50 Bosnia and Herzegovina 波斯尼亚和黑塞哥维那 51 Bolivia 玻利维亚 52 Norway 挪威 53 Kazakhstan 哈萨克斯坦 54 Kosovo 科索沃 55 Bulgaria 保加利亚 56 United States of America 美国 57 American Samoa 美属萨摩亚 58 Virgin Islands 美属维尔京群岛 59 Thailand 泰国 60 Netherlands 荷兰 61 Georgia 格鲁吉亚 62 Colombia 哥伦比亚 63 Trinidad and Tobago 特立尼达和多巴哥 64 Peru 秘鲁 65 Ireland 爱尔兰 66 Estonia 爱沙尼亚 67 Haiti 海地 68 Czech Republic 捷克共和国 69 Philippines 菲律宾 70 Slovenia 斯诺文尼亚 71 Slovakia 斯洛伐克 72 Portugal 葡萄牙 73 South Korea 韩国 74 Montenegro 黑山 75 Chile 智利 76 Austria 奥地利 77 Switzerland 瑞士 78 Sweden 瑞典 79 Mongolia 蒙古 80 New Zealand 新西兰 81 Serbia 塞尔维亚 82 Cyprus 塞浦路斯 83 Mexico 墨西哥 84 Lebanon 黎巴嫩 85 Germany 德国 86 Moldova 摩尔多瓦共和国 87 Monaco 摩纳哥公国 88 Morocco 摩洛哥王国 89 Australia 澳大利亚 90 Italy 意大利 91 China 中华人民共和国
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