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What is the marching order for the Closing Ceremony at the Winter Olympics?

Greece traditionally leads the parade, regardless of its place in the alphabet, because that is where the Olympics originated. The host country enters last.

BEIJING, China — Just like the Opening Ceremony, this year's Closing Ceremony at the Beijing Winter Olympics featured a parade of nations, where flag bearers from all the competing countries marched into Beijing's "Bird's Nest" stadium. 

Historically, Greece -- the birthplace of the Olympics -- is always the first country to march into the Olympic venue of the host nation. The host country -- in this case China -- is the last nation to march out.

The International Olympic Committee recently changed the rules to have the hosts of the next Olympics enter right before the host nation. Italy will welcome the world for the Winter Games in 2026, so its flag-bearer entered before the Chinese. 

All other flag bearers then march out in alphabetical order based on the host country's official language. Because Chinese uses characters instead of an alphabet, the order for the Opening and Closing ceremonies was determined based on stroke order of the first character of the nation's name in Chinese.

That's why this year viewers saw the flag of Turkey come out second as opposed to that of Albania's, which would have been the one to follow Greece if the Olympics were hosted in an English-speaking country.

While there were flags representing the 91 nations who competed at the Olympics, more than a third of those were actually carried out by a volunteer and not an athlete from the respective country. In most cases, this is because the athletes from these nations had earlier completed their competitions and headed home before the Closing Ceremony.

For the Beijing Closing Ceremony, the flag bearers also came out in two separate lines. With Greece leading half the group in order, while China led the remaining half in reverse order. 

Credit: AP
Flag bearers walk into the stadium for the closing ceremony of the 2022 Winter Olympics, Sunday, Feb. 20, 2022, in Beijing. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)

Bobsledder Elana Meyers Taylor was tapped as Team USA's flagbearer after she missed her original opportunity to do so during the Opening Ceremony because of a positive COVID test.

After the flag bearers proceeded into the stadium, it was time for the rest of the athletes still in Beijing to head on in. There didn't appear to be any specific order for when the larger groups walked in. 

Closing Ceremony Flag Bearer Country Order for Winter Olympics

  1. Greece 
  2. Turkey 
  3. Malta 
  4. Madagascar 
  5. Malaysia 
  6. Ecuador 
  7. Eritrea 
  8. Jamaica 
  9. Belgium 
  10. Japan
  11. Chinese Taipei 
  12. Hong Kong 
  13. Denmark 
  14. Ukraine 
  15. Uzbekistan 
  16. Brazil 
  17. Pakistan
  18. Israel 
  19. East Timor 
  20. North Macedonia 
  21. Luxembourg 
  22. Belarus 
  23. India 
  24. Lithuania 
  25. Nigeria 
  26. Ghana 
  27. Canada 
  28. San Marino 
  29. Kyrgyzstan 
  30. Armenia 
  31. Spain 
  32. Liechtenstein 
  33. Iran 
  34. Hungary 
  35. Iceland 
  36. Andorra 
  37. Finland 
  38. Croatia 
  39. Saudi Arabia 
  40. Albania 
  41. Argentina 
  42. Azerbaijan 
  43. Latvia 
  44. Great Britain 
  45. Romania 
  46. Russian Olympic Committee
  47. France 
  48. Poland 
  49. Puerto Rico 
  50. Bosnia and Herzegovina 
  51. Bolivia 
  52. Norway 
  53. Kazakhstan 
  54. Kosovo 
  55. Bulgaria 
  56. United States 
  57. American Samoa 
  58. Virgin Islands
  59. Thailand 
  60. Netherlands 
  61. Georgia 
  62. Colombia 
  63. Trinidad and Tobago 
  64. Peru 
  65. Ireland 
  66. Estonia 
  67. Haiti 
  68. Czech Republic 
  69. Philippines 
  70. Slovenia 
  71. Slovakia 
  72. Portugal 
  73. South Korea 
  74. Montenegro 
  75. Chile 
  76. Austria 
  77. Switzerland 
  78. Sweden 
  79. Mongolia 
  80. New Zealand 
  81. Serbia 
  82. Cyprus 
  83. Mexico 
  84. Lebanon 
  85. Germany 
  86. Moldova 
  87. Monaco 
  88. Morocco 
  89. Australia 
  90. Italy 
  91. China
Credit: AP
Members of team United States pose during the closing ceremony of the 2022 Winter Olympics, Sunday, Feb. 20, 2022, in Beijing. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

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