Greece traditionally leads the parade, regardless of its place in the alphabet, because that is where the Olympics originated. The host country enters last.
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 point 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 the Chinese use characters rather than an alphabet, the order for the Opening and Closing ceremonies was chosen based on the stroke order of the first character of the nation's name in Chinese.
That's why this year spectators 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.
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.
Closing Ceremony Flag Bearer Country Order for Winter Olympics
- Chinese Taipei
- Hong Kong
- East Timor
- North Macedonia
- San Marino
- Saudi Arabia
- Great Britain
- Russian Olympic Committee
- Puerto Rico
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- United States
- American Samoa
- Virgin Islands
- Trinidad and Tobago
- Czech Republic
- South Korea
- New Zealand
Olympic Anthem Sung in Greek by 40 Chinese Children at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony