Around 3,000 athletes from 92 countries and territories braced frightful temperatures as they marched into the new PyeongChang Olympic Stadium under their country’s flag during the Parade of Nations – as per Olympic tradition. North and South Korea made history when they marched together under a single flag, as musicians performed John Lennon’s iconic hit “Imagine.”
But many social media users observing the ceremony seemed slightly confused by the order of events. “What is the order of the countries coming out in the opening ceremony? It’s not alphabetical?” wrote one Twitter user. “Weird opening ceremony. Don’t know how they’ve determined the order of countries. Not alphabetical just muddled up,” added another.
In fact, the order that the countries marched in was alphabetic – but following the Korean alphabet known as Hangeul, as opposed to the English alphabet. That is why, by way of example, Denmark followed New Zealand, Iran followed Ukraine and Bermuda followed the United States of America.
That said, there are two exceptions to the rule. Firstly, an Olympic Opening Ceremony parade always begins with Greece, in honor of where the games originate from, and the host nation always goes last. This time, both North and South Korea appeared at the conclusion of the parade, as they were marching under the same flag.
Here’s the full order that countries marched in at the 2018 Opening Ceremony of the Winter Olympics:
3. The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
5. South Africa
8. New Zealand
11. Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste
13. Olympic Athletes from Russia
25. Republic of Moldova
28. United States of America
32. Bosnia and Herzegovina
36. San Marino
54. Great Britain
59. Islamic Republic of Iran
66. People’s Republic of China
67. Chinese Taipei
68. Czech Republic
85. Puerto Rico
90. Hong Kong, China
91. Korea (North and South)
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