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Tokyo Olympics 2021 opening ceremony: order and flag bearers by country

Tokyo Olympics officially start on July 23 with the traditional Opening Ceremony, but this time with several changes to be seen: empty stadium, restrictions and gender equality.

Japan's Air Self Defense Force (JASDF) aerobatics team, the Blue Impulse, skywrite Olympic rings in a practice run ahead of the official opening of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Japan.

The Tokyo Olympics will officially start Friday, July 23 with the traditional Opening Ceremony a year after having been canceled due to the global pandemic. While the International Olympic Committee establishes a very strict format for these sports events, the empty stadium, as well as the implementation of two representatives per nation will differentiate this year’s proceedings in Tokyo.

Follow the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics live

Opening Ceremony: When and Where?

The Opening Ceremony, which is meant to last four hours, will be held at 7:00 a.m. ET. Friday, July 23. The event will take place at the new National Stadium in Tokyo, which opened last year and will also be hosting several sports such as soccer and the track and field competition. Tokyo is 13 hours ahead of the East Coast.

How to watch the Opening Ceremonies on television?

NBC will be airing the event live beginning on 6:55 a.m ET, July 23. However, for those who missed the ceremonies, NBC will also tape delay at 7:30 p.m. ET on the same day.

A journey through time

Each Opening Ceremony has a theme selected by the host country. During the "Parade of Nations", the host country's goal is to represent their cultural identity and to show the world their place in society.

Ceremonies have been around since The greek Ancient Games, from ca. 776 BC to ca. 393 AD. But it wasn’t until approximately the 77th Olympiad that they established a standard 18-event program and an Inauguration festival to celebrate the start of the Games. This festival was followed by a ceremony where athletes took an oath to sportsmanship, to end with an artistic competition of trumpeters and heralds.

However, it wasn’t until the Stockholm Games in 1912 when the artistic version of the opening ceremonies that we are most familiar with, was first implemented by Coubertin.

The International Olympic Committee says tradition dictates that the parade should be in alphabetical order, according to the host country’s language, with the exception of Greece, which since 1928 opens the parade due to historical reasons, and the host country which will bring up the gear.

Since the 1980 Olympics in Moscow, opening ceremonies continue to increase in many ways such as scale, complexity and expense. This growth is reflected in the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics where for the first time we will see an opening ceremony staged across two stadiums.

Another very important change is the fact that starting with Tokyo 2021 we will see for the first time two flag bearers representing both genders. This decision was made by the Olympic Committee to fight against gender inequalities. The IOC has always worked towards gender equality. In 1900, 22 women were seen for the first time participating in the Olympics, 118 years after, the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires became the first fully gender-balanced Olympic event in history.

Opening Ceremony: Safety Restrictions

A year after having been canceled because of the global pandemic, Olympic Games return, but still with strict restrictions due to increasing cases in the host country. No fans will be allowed at the Olympic events nor at the opening and closing ceremonies this year, an aspect that will drastically change the atmosphere of all the events not only for competitors but also for those who watch it from their homes.

Sponsors first officials which are usually seen in the Olympic’s opening will not be attending this year’s ceremony either. The companies cited the no-attendance policy at most of the Games’ venues and the need to prevent their executives from contracting the novel coronavirus. Even Japan’s three major business groups have also decided to skip the Opening Ceremony.

Officials revealed that just 950 people were expected to attend. Among whom will be officials, journalists, performers and athletes taking part of the Olympic Games.

Even if athletes are not obligated to take the vaccine, IOC has tried to persuade all countries to get their athletes vaccinated in solidarity with the host country. Around 80% of attendants have already been vaccinated.

Who are the U.S. flag bearers?

The US team will be the third-to-last parade to enter the stadium, two spots before Japan. This positioning reminds spectators that US will be hosting 2028 Los Angeles Olympics. France, which will be host nation for the Olympic Games in 2024 will enter behind the US, a spot ahead of Japan.

American flag bearers will be women representative Sue Bird (women’s basketball) and Men’s representative Eddy Alvarez (baseball, though he won a silver medal in short-track speedskating at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics).

Bird and Alvarez will be wearing Ralph Lauren outfits which include a self-regulating cooling system designed by the brand. Summer temperatures in Tokyo often reach 90 °F.

List of Official Flagbearers at Olympic 2021 Opening ceremony

OrderTeamFlag bearer(s)Sport(s)
1Greece (GRE)Anna Korakaki, Eleftherios PetrouniasShooting, Gymnastics
2Refugee Olympic Team (EOR)Sofya Velikaya, Maksim MikhaylovlFencing, Volleyball
3Iceland (ISL)Snæfríður Jórunnardóttir, Anton Sveinn McKeeSwimming
4Ireland (IRL)Kellie Harrington, Brendan IrvineBoxing
5Azerbaijan (AZE)Farida Azizova, Rüstəm OrucovTaekwondo, Judo
6Afghanistan (AFG)
7United Arab Emirates (UAE)
8Algeria (ALG)Amel Melih, Mohamed FlissiSwimming, Boxing
9Argentina (ARG)Cecilia Carranza, Santiago LangeSailing
10Aruba (ARU)Philip ElhageShooting
11Albania (ALB)
12Armenia (ARM)Varsenik Manucharyan, Hovhannes BachkovSwimming, Boxing
13Angola (ANG)
14Antigua and Barbuda (ANT)
15Andorra (AND)Mònica DòriaCanoeing
16Yemen (YEM)
17Israel (ISR)Hanna Knyazyeva-Minenko, Yakov ToumarkinAthletics, Swimming
18Italy (ITA)Jessica Rossi, Elia VivianiShooting, Cycling
19Iraq (IRQ)
20Iran (IRI)Hanieh Rostamian, Samad Nikkhah BahramiShooting, Basketball
21India (IND)Mary Kom, Manpreet SinghBoxing, Field hockey
22Indonesia (INA)Nurul Akmal, Rio WaidaWeightlifting, Surfing
23Uganda (UGA)
24Ukraine (UKR)Olena Kostevych, Bohdan NikishynShooting, Fencing
25Uzbekistan (UZB)Oksana Chusovitina, Bobo-Usmon BaturovGymnastics, Boxing
26Uruguay (URU)Déborah Rodríguez, Bruno CetraroAthletics, Rowing
27Great Britain (GBR)Hannah Mills, Mohamed SbihiSailing, Rowing
28British Virgin Islands (IVB)Elinah Phillip, Kyron McMasterSwimming, Athletics
29Ecuador (ECU)Neisi Dajomes, Julio CastilloWeightlifting, Boxing
30Egypt (EGY)
31Estonia (EST)Dina Ellermann, Tõnu EndreksonEquestrian, Rowing
32Eswatini (SWZ)
33Ethiopia (ETH)
34Eritrea (ERI)
35El Salvador (ESA)Celina Márquez, Enrique ArathoonSwimming, Sailing
36Australia (AUS)Cate Campbell, Patty MillsSwimming, Basketball
37Austria (AUT)Tanja Frank, Thomas ZajacSailing
38Oman (OMA)Issa Al-AdawiSwimming
39Netherlands (NED)Keet Oldenbeuving, Churandy MartinaSkateboarding, Athletics
40Ghana (GHA)Nadia EkeAthletics
41Cape Verde (CPV)
42Guyana (GUY)
43Kazakhstan (KAZ)Olga Rypakova, Kamshybek KunkabayevAthletics, Boxing
44Qatar (QAT)
45Canada (CAN)Miranda Ayim,Nathan HirayamaBasketball, Rugby sevens
46Gabon (GAB)
47Cameroon (CMR)Joseph EssombeWrestling
48The Gambia (GAM)
49Cambodia (CAM)
50North Macedonia (MKD)Dejan GeorgievskiTaekwondo
51Guinea (GUI)
52Guinea-Bissau (GBS)
53Cyprus (CYP)Andri Eleftheriou, Pavlos KontidesShooting, Sailing
54Cuba (CUB)Yaime Pérez, Mijaín LópezAthletics, Wrestling
55Kiribati (KIR)Kinaua BiriboJudo
56Kyrgyzstan (KGZ)-
57Guatemala (GUA)Mirna Ortiz, Juan Ignacio MaegliAthletics, Sailing
58Guam (GUM)
59Kuwait (KUW)
60Cook Islands (COK)
61Grenada (GRN)
62Croatia (CRO)Sandra Perković, Josip GlasnovićAthletics, Shooting
63Cayman Islands (CAY)Jillian Crooks, Brett FraserSwimming
64Kenya (KEN)Mercy Moim, Andrew AmondeVolleyball, Rugby sevens
65Ivory Coast (CIV)Marie-Josée Ta LouAthletics
66Costa Rica (CRC)Andrea VargasAthletics
67Kosovo (KOS)Majlinda Kelmendi, Akil GjakovaJudo
68Comoros (COM)
69Colombia (COL)Caterine IbargüenAthletics
70Republic of the Congo (CGO)Natacha Ngoye AkamabiAthletics
71Democratic Republic of the Congo (COD)
72Saudi Arabia (KSA)
73Samoa (SAM)Alex RoseAthletics
74São Tomé and Príncipe (STP)
75Zambia (ZAM)
76San Marino (SMR)Arianna Valloni, Myles AmineSwimming, Wrestling
77Sierra Leone (SLE)
78Djibouti (DJI)
79Jamaica (JAM)
80Georgia (GEO)Nino Salukvadze, Lasha TalakhadzeShooting, Weightlifting
81Syria (SYR)
82Singapore (SGP)Yu Mengyu, Loh Kean YewTable tennis, Badminton
83Zimbabwe (ZIM)
84Switzerland (SUI)Mujinga Kambundji, Max HeinzerAthletics, Fencing
85Sweden (SWE)Sara Algotsson Ostholt, Max SalminenEquestrian, Sailing
86Sudan (SUD)
87Spain (ESP)Mireia Belmonte, Saúl CraviottoSwimming, Canoeing
88Suriname (SUR)Jair Tjon En FaCycling
89Sri Lanka (SRI)Milka Gehani de Silva, Chamara DharmawardanaGymnastics, Judo
90Slovakia (SVK)Zuzana Rehák-Štefečeková, Matej BeňušShooting, Canoeing
91Slovenia (SLO)
92Seychelles (SEY)Felicity Passon, Rodney GovindenSwimming, Sailing
93Equatorial Guinea (GEQ)
94Senegal (SEN)Jeanne Boutbien, Mbagnick NdiayeSwimming, Judo
95Serbia (SRB)Sonja Vasić, Filip FilipovićBasketball, Water polo
96Saint Kitts and Nevis (SKN)
97Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (VIN)
98Saint Lucia (LCA)
99Somalia (SOM)
100Solomon Islands (SOL)
101Thailand (THA)Naphaswan Yangpaiboon, Savate SresthapornShooting
102South Korea (KOR)Kim Yeon-koung, Hwang Sun-wooVolleyball, Swimming
103Tajikistan (TJK)
104Tanzania (TAN)
105Czech Republic (CZE)
106Chinese Taipei (TPE)Kuo Hsing-chun, Lu Yen-hsunWeightlifting, Tennis
107Chad (CHA)
108Central African Republic (CAF)
109China (CHN)Zhu Ting, Zhao ShuaiVolleyball, Taekwondo
110Tunisia (TUN)Inès Boubakri, Mehdi Ben CheikhFencing, Volleyball
111Chile (CHI)Francisca Crovetto, Marco GrimaltShooting, Volleyball
112Tuvalu (TUV)
113Denmark (DEN)Sara Slott Petersen, Jonas WarrerAthletics, Sailing
114Germany (GER)Laura Ludwig, Patrick HausdingVolleyball, Diving
115Togo (TOG)Claire AkossiwaRowing
116Dominica (DMA)
117Dominican Republic (DOM)Prisilla Rivera, Rodrigo MarteVolleyball, Boxing
118Trinidad and Tobago (TTO)
119Turkmenistan (TKM)
120Turkey (TUR)Merve Tuncel, Berke SakaSwimming
121Tonga (TGA)Pita TaufatofuaTaekwondo
122Nigeria (NGR)Odunayo AdekuoroyeWrestling
123Nauru (NRU)
124Namibia (NAM)
125Nicaragua (NCA)
126Niger (NIG)
127New Zealand (NZL)Sarah Hirini, Hamish BondRugby sevens, Rowing
128Nepal (NEP)Gaurika SinghSwimming
129Norway (NOR)
130Bahrain (BRN)
131Haiti (HAI)Sabiana Anestor, Plast Darrell ValsainJudo, Boxing
132Pakistan (PAK)Mahoor Shahzad, Muhammad Khalil AkhtarBadminton, Shooting
133Panama (PAN)Atheyna Bylon, Alonso EdwardBoxing, Athletics
134Vanuatu (VAN)Rio RiiRowing
135Bahamas (BAH)
136Papua New Guinea (PNG)
137Bermuda (BER)Dara AlizadehRowing
138Palau (PLW)
139Paraguay (PAR)Verónica Cepede, Fabrizio ZanottiTennis, Golf
140Barbados (BAR)
141Palestine (PLE)
142Hungary (HUN)Aida Mohamed, László CsehFencing, Swimming
143Bangladesh (BAN)
144East Timor (TLS)
145Fiji (FIJ)Rusila Nagasau, Jerry TuwaiRugby sevens
146Philippines (PHI)Kiyomi Watanabe, Eumir MarcialJudo, Boxing
147Finland (FIN)Satu Mäkelä-Nummela, Ari-Pekka LiukkonenShooting, Swimming
148Bhutan (BHU)
149Puerto Rico (PUR)Adriana Díaz, Brian AfanadorTable tennis
150Brazil (BRA)Ketleyn Quadros, Bruno RezendeJudo, Volleyball
151Bulgaria (BUL)Maria GrozdevaShooting
152Burkina Faso (BUR)Hugues Fabrice ZangoAthletics
153Brunei (BRU)
154Burundi (BDI)
155American Samoa (ASA)
156Virgin Islands (ISV)
157Vietnam (VIE)
158Benin (BEN)Odile AhouanwanouAthletics
159Venezuela (VEN)Yulimar Rojas, Antonio DíazAthletics, Karate
160Belarus (BLR)
161Belize (BIZ)
162Peru (PER)Daniella Rosas, Lucca MesinasSurfing
163Belgium (BEL)Nafissatou Thiam, Félix DenayerAthletics, Field hockey
164Poland (POL)Maja Włoszczowska, Paweł KorzeniowskiCycling, Swimming
165Bosnia and Herzegovina (BIH)Larisa Cerić, Amel TukaJudo Athletics
166Botswana (BOT)
167Bolivia (BOL)Karen Torrez, Gabriel CastilloSwimming
168Portugal (POR)Telma Monteiro, Nelson ÉvoraJudo, Athletics
169Hong Kong (HKG)Tse Ying Suet, Cheung Ka LongBadminton, Fencing
170Honduras (HON)Julio HorregoSwimming
171Marshall Islands (MHL)
172Madagascar (MAD)Tojonirina AndriantsitohainaWeightlifting
173Malawi (MAW)
174Mali (MLI)
175Malta (MLT)Eleanor Bezzina, Andrew ChetcutiShooting, Swimming
176Malaysia (MAS)Goh Liu Ying, Lee Zii JiaBadminton
177Federated States of Micronesia (FSM)
178South Africa (RSA)Phumelela Mbande, Chad le ClosField hockey, Swimming
179South Sudan (SSD)
180Myanmar (MYA)
181Mexico (MEX)Gabriela López, Rommel PachecoGolf, Diving
182Mauritius (MRI)Roilya Ranaivosoa, Richarno ColinWeightlifting, Boxing
183Mauritania (MTN)
184Mozambique (MOZ)
185Monaco (MON)Xiaoxin YangTable tennis
186Maldives (MDV)Fathimath Nabaaha Abdul RazzaqBadminton
187Moldova (MDA)
188Morocco (MAR)Oumaïma Belahbib, Ramzi BoukhiamBoxing, Surfing
189Mongolia (MGL)Khulan Onolbaatar, Duurenbayar UlziibayarBasketball Judo
190Montenegro (MNE)Jovanka Radičević, Draško BrguljanHandball, Water polo
191Jordan (JOR)
192Laos (LAO)
193Latvia (LAT)Jeļena Ostapenko, Agnis ČavarsTennis, Basketball
194Lithuania (LTU)
195Libya (LBA)
196Liechtenstein (LIE)
197Liberia (LBR)
198Romania (ROU)Mădălina Bereș, Robert GlințăRowing, Swimming
199Luxembourg (LUX)Bob BertemesAthletics
200Rwanda (RWA)
201Lesotho (LES)
202Lebanon (LBN)Ray Bassil, Nacif EliaShooting, Judo
203United States (USA)Sue Bird, Eddy AlvarezBasketball, Baseball
204France (FRA)Clarisse Agbegnenou, Samir Aït SaïdJudo, Gymnastics
205Japan (JPN)Yui Susaki, Rui HachimuraWrestling, Basketball

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