OLYMPIC GAMES

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.

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Tokyo 2021 Parade of Nations: Order and Flag Bearer List
TWITTER/@KONO_MI0624 @KONO_MI0624 via REUTERS

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).

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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

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