Skip to navigationSkip to content
END OF THE LINE

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

Reuters/Mike Blake
Grand finale.
Published Last updated 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.

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

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.

📬 Kick off each morning with coffee and the Daily Brief (BYO coffee).

By providing your email, you agree to the Quartz Privacy Policy.