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END OF THE LINE

This is the order countries will march in during the Olympic opening ceremonies

Reuters/Mike Blake
Grand finale.
  • Ana Campoy
By Ana Campoy

Deputy editor, global finance and economics

This article is more than 2 years old.

Athletes from more than 200 countries will march into Rio de Janeiro’s Maracanã stadium this evening to open the summer Olympics. The procession, known as the parade of nations, has been a mainstay feature of Olympic opening ceremonies since the 1908 London games. These days, it can stretch for nearly two hours.

To get attention, therefore, it’s best to be either up front or making a grand entrance at the end; those in the middle will be lost in a sea of nations and their flags. Alas, their position in the parade is one thing the athletes can’t compete for.

Under the games’ precise protocol, Greece always marches first (in a nod to its status as the first nation to ever hold both the modern and ancient versions of the Olympics). The host country always goes last. For the rest, the parade follows alphabetical order in the local tongue—in the case of the Rio games, Portuguese.

In some Olympics, the local language plays in a country’s favor; others, not so much. In the London 2012 games, for example, the US walked almost last, when excitement in the stadium was reaching its peak. But its name in Portuguese is “Estados Unidos,” so it will be in the middle of the pack in Rio.

Others are luckier. South Africa (“Africa do Sul”) moves up to the front. During the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Australia was among the last to make an appearance. In Rio, the country is back close to the start of the line.

Here’s the list of participating countries (pdf) in their Portuguese alphabetical order, bookmarked by Greece and Brazil. The team of refugee athletes will appear next to last, per the International Olympic Committee.

1Greece
2Afghanistan
3South Africa
4Albania
5Germany
6Andorra
7Angola
8Antigua and Barbuda
9Saudi Arabia
10Algeria
11Argentina
12Armenia
13Aruba
14Independent Olympic Athletes
15Australia
16Austria
17Azerbaijan
18Bahamas
19Bangladesh
20Barbados
21Bahrain
22Belarus
23Belgium
24Belize
25Benin
26Bermuda
27Bolivia
28Bosnia and Herzegovina
29Botswana
30Brunei Darussalam
31Bulgaria
32Burkina Faso
33Burundi
34Bhutan
35Cape Verde
36Cameroon
37Cambodia
38Canada
39Qatar
40Kazakhstan
41Cayman Islands
42Central African Rebublic
43Chad
44Chile
45China
46Cyprus
47Colombia
48Comoros
49Congo
50Democratic Republic of Congo
51Cook Islands
52South Korea
53Ivory Coast
54Costa Rica
55Croatia
56Cuba
57Denmark
58Djibouti
59Dominica
60Dominican Republic
61Egypt
62El Salvador
63Emirates Arab States
64Ecuador
65Eritrea
66Slovakia
67Slovenia
68Spain
69Federated Stats of Micronesia
70United States of America
71Estonia
72Ethiopia
73Macedonia
74Fiji
75Philippines
76Finland
77France
78Gabon
79Gambia
80Ghana
81Georgia
82Great Britain
83Grenada
84Guam
85Guatemala
86Guyana
87Guinea
88Equatorial Guinea
89Guinea-Bissau
90Haiti
91Honduras
92Hong Kong, China
93Hungary
94Yemen
95India
96Indonesia
97Iran
98Iraq
99Ireland
100Iceland
101Israel
102Italy
103Jamaica
104Japan
105Jordan
106Kiribati
107Kosovo
108Laos
109Lesotho
110Latvia
111Lebanon
112Liberia
113Libya
114Liechtenstein
115Lithuania
116Luxembourg
117Madagascar
118Malaysia
119Malawi
120Maldives
121Mali
122Malta
123Marshall Islands
124Morocco
125Mauritius
126Mauritania
127Mexico
128Mozambique
129Republic of Moldova
130Monaco
131Mongolia
132Montenegro
133Myanmar
134Namibia
135Nauru
136Nepal
137Nicaragua
138Niger
139Nigeria
140Norway
141New Zealand
142Oman
143Netherlands
144Palau
145Palestine
146Panama
147Papua New Guinea
148Pakistan
149Paraguay
150Peru
151Poland
152Puerto Rico
153Portugal
154Kenya
155Kyrgyzstan
156North Korea
157Romania
158Rwanda
159Russian Federation
160Solomon Islands
161Samoa
162American Samoa
163San Marino
164Saint Lucia
165St. Kitts-Nevis
166Sao Tome and Principe
167Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
168Seychelles
169Senegal
170Sierra Leone
171Serbia
172Singapore
173Syria
174Somalia
175Sri Lanka
176Swaziland
177Sudan
178South Sudan
179Sweden
180Switzerland
181Suriname
182Tajikistan
183Thailand
184Chinese Taipei (Taiwan)
185Tanzania
186Czech Republic
187Timor-Leste
188Togo
189Tonga
190Trinidad and Tobago
191Tunisia
192Turkmenistan
193Turkey
194Tuvalu
195Ukraine
196Uganda
197Uruguay
198Uzbekistan
199Vanuatu
200Venezuela
201Vietnam
202US Virgin Islands
203British Virgin Islands
204Zambia
205Zimbabwe
206Refugee Olympic Team
207Brazil

Correction (Aug 8): The list of countries in a previous version of this item was based on the list of Olympics’ participants provided by Rio 2016 organizers. It’s now based on the list provided by the International Olympic Committee, which was used to determine the order during the opening ceremony. The two used different criteria to alphabetize the countries’ names.

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