Rio Olympics: Why NZ fans will have to wait longer to see our athletes at Opening Ceremony

The Olympic flag is carried into The National Stadium during the Parade of Nations at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Photo / Kenny Rodger
The Olympic flag is carried into The National Stadium during the Parade of Nations at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Photo / Kenny Rodger

The bad news...New Zealand fans will have to wait longer than usual to see Kiwi athletes walk out into the Rio stadium at next month's Opening Ceremony. The good news...not too much longer.

The New Zealand team will be the 138th set of athletes to parade around the Maracana Stadium during the Parade of Nations, four places later than when they of the 2012 Olympics paraded around Olympic Stadium in London.

Being introducing four nations later is due to the fact that in this year's Olympics, the list of participating nations at the Olympics will be announced in Portuguese, the national language of host nation Brazil.

In Portuguese, the name of New Zealand is Nova Zelandia, which is alphabetically lower than the English version, thus affecting when New Zealand walks out in the parade, as when each nation appears in the parade depends on alphabetical order.

The different pronunciation of each nation does not just affect when New Zealand's athletes walks out to the Maracanã, as the times of which some countries walk out into the stadium have been drastically changed to what they were in London four years ago.

South Africa, or África do Sul, can be considered to be one of the big winners as a result of each countries names being read in Portuguese, as they will be the third country of the 207 participating nations to parade around the stadium, whereas in London 2012, where the names of each country were read aloud in English, they were the 171st nation to appear in the Parade of Nations.

Other big winners include Germany, who will be read as Alemanha, resulting in a jump from 73rd in 2012 to fifth in 2016.

Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, or Antiga República Iugoslava da Macedônia, and Saudi Arabia, known in Portuguese as Arábia Saudita, also make substantial jumps up the list, with Macedonia going from 68th place to eighth spot, and Saudi Arabia rocketing from 161st to tenth place.

Along with the winners from this, there are also losers as well.

Perhaps the biggest loser of all the nations is American Samoa, or Samoa Americana, who this year will walk out in 166th place, while in 2012, they were the fifth country to walk in the parade.

Other big losers include the Czech Republic, or República Tcheca, who fall from 52nd to 162nd, as well as Lao People's Democratic Republic, or República Popular Democrática do Laos, who will walk as the 161st nation rather than the 103rd country like they were in 2012.

American broadcaster NBC, who won the rights to show the Games at a cost of $4.38 billion and asked the International Olympic Committee to allow the USA to walk out earlier than normal in an attempt to garner higher ratings, should be satisfied with the fact that the USA, or Estados Unidos da América, will march in 64th spot rather than 195th as they did in London 2012.

The traditions of Greece walking out first and the host nation walking out last will still be evident this year, with the Greeks scheduled to parade first, while Brazil is scheduled to walk out in the final spot.

- NZ Herald

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