The 2018 Winter Olympics opening ceremony parade will probably follow this tradition

By Zoe Szathmary

Published December 06, 2017

Expect to see athletes from around the world participate in the opening ceremony for the 2018 Winter Olympics. 

The spectacle will happen on February 9, 2018, at 8 p.m. local time at the Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Viewers in the U.S. can catch the action on NBC. This year’s parade is slated to run until 9:50 p.m. local time. 

A staple of the Opening Ceremony is the athletes’ parade, which features delegations from competing countries. 

If you’re trying to catch a glimpse of Team USA this year, it’s helpful to know how the order of the groups walking is determined.

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“Tradition dictates that the delegations parade in alphabetical order according to the language of the host country, except for Greece, which leads the parade, and the host country, which brings up the rear,” the International Olympic Committee (IOC) says.

“The usual practice is for the athletes to march behind the flag of their country, but there are sometimes exceptions,” like when the Olympic flag or a special flag are used instead, according to the committee.  

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During the Closing Ceremony parade, the athletes all walk together, the IOC says.

This happened for the first time at the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne, Australia, after a 17-year-old boy had submitted the idea in a letter.

“Before these Games, the athletes had always marched behind their flag-bearer, as at the Opening Ceremony,” according to the IOC. 

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