One of the highlights of the Opening Ceremonies is the otherwise interminable Parade of Nations, where all of the athletes who can walk the track and take positions in the center.
When possible (for example, the Chinese "alphabet" has no "order" - I forget what was eventually done), the host country picks their language or one of them, and the 200+ nations (plus a Refugee Team this year) will march into the stadium in alphabetical order, except Greece always leads the procession and the hosts are last. (When Athens hosted a recent Olympics, the Greeks marched twice!)
In English-speaking countries, this means that most American Olympics
A Sao Paulo newspaper has reported that NBC is not happy that the Portugese language (only the national language of Brazil) is being used.
United States of America translates to...
Estados Unidos da America
(not dissimilar to Spanish)
With the obvious result that instead of forcing their Olympic flag-wavers to sit through most of the parade (the London video shows the USA entering at 1:27:44), they would enter quite early in the procession. Yes, there would be similar reordering of other nations, but, as a guideline, if we inserted "Estados Unidos da America" into the London ceremony, the EUA (Portugese abbreviation for USA) would enter at about 32 minutes (after Equatorial Guinea, before Estonia).
That's 55 minutes of commercials and useless twatter that NBC would not be able to subject many American Olympic watchers to. And they aren't happy and they are trying to change it.
In fact, Wikipedia has the apparent order of nations on a page cataloging the parade and who will bear the flag for each nation.
The United States will enter 64th, behind the Estados Federados da Micronesia (the Federated States of Micronesia) -- which will almost certainly merit a commercial break after the entrance of Spain (Espanha). Estonia will enter afterward. Ironically, the Russian team which is not disqualified enters as Federacao Russia, with only Estonia and Ethiopia separating the USA from Russia. That COULD be a problem.
In the London Games, the USA entered 195th of the 205 nations.
Other major moves are countries like
- Africa do Sul (South Africa, who now enters 3rd, with only Greece and Afghanistan preceding them)
- Alemanha (Germany, entering 5th, after Albania)
- Arabia Saudita (Saudi Arabia, 10th, after Antigua and Barbuda)
- Catar (Qatar, 39th)
- The country which preceded the USA in London has to make a larger move: Emirados Arabes Unidos (United Arab Emirates, 57th)
- Eslovenia, Eslovakia, and Espanha (Slovenia, Slovakia, and Spain, 60th, 61st, and 62nd)
- Filipinas (Philippines, 69th)
- First move the other direction is a somewhat minor one: Guiné Equatorial (Equitorial Guinea, 83rd)
- The country 3rd from last in the alphabetical part of English 2012 Parade moves to 88th, Iemen (Yemen)
- All of the "Islands" nations move, as, in Portugese, all of their names start with Ilhas (Cayman, Cook, Marshall, Solomon, US Virgin (Ilhas Virginas Americanas), and British Virgin (Ilhas Virginas Britanicas) are 89th-94th)
- Then we normalize a bit for quite a while, about a third of the total, until we hit Quênia (Kenya, at 151st) and Quirguistão (Kyrgyzstan, 152nd)
- Many of the "Republic" nations also have to move, similar to the Islands: Their names all start with República (Central-African, (South) Korea, Moldova, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dominican, (Islamic Republic of) Iran, (People's Republic of) China, (North) Korea, Laos, and the Czech Republic are 153-162).
- Samoa Americana (American Samoa, from 5th to 166th.)
If you want cover something really important that might actually mean something positive this night if it is allowed to complete without a terrorist attack, I will be glad to provide you one right at the end of the line, just before Brazil...
The last non-Brazilian team to enter is the first-ever Atletas Olímpicos Refugiados : The Refugee Olympic Athletes Team. Ten athletes. Six in track and field, two in judo, two swimmers. Five of the six track athletes escaped from South Sudan and the civil war in Sudan. The two judo athletes both escaped from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The two swimmers are both Syrian. The sixth track athlete is a marathoner who escaped Ethiopia.
If you really want to do something positive: GIVE THESE MEN AND WOMEN A FUCKING MOMENT!
And don't worry, you can hype the flag and the torch and the cauldron (I'm almost willing to bet money it's Pele to light it!).
But as for the USA being "too early" in the Parade of Nations, shut the fuck up.