• 01/18/2012, 11:29AM ET

FFTI II: Should the Greek Olympic team continue to march first at the Games?

Golden Grillz (116-117-21) vs GoNets 2.0 (0-10-0)

The protocol of the Olympic opening ceremony
- Parade of Nations
- Speeches
- Olympic flame
- Oath

Parade of Nations:

Greece enters first, followed by countries in alphabetical order based on the host countries native language, and finally the host country (regardless of its alphabetical order)

Most people would agree, the host country should enter last. It keeps the crowd into it as they anticipate the athletes entering the stadium. (Common practice in pro sports announce the star player last)

Does Greece entering the stadium first give them an unfair advantage in competition for the games? No

Does it help Greece sell more merchandise? (Let me take off my greek toga, and finish my gyro first) No

So why do it? Tradition
Since the first modern games (1908) Greece has always entered first. As tribute for the origin of the Olympics.
This tradition is older than:
- Olympic Oath (1920)
- The lighting of the torch (1928)

Eliminating this tradition deminishes the importance of the ceremony, and ignores its roots. If that's the goal, you might as well take away lighting the Olympic torch.

Keep the tradition. Greece should be the first to enter.

Well, I guess I have to argue the unpopular side of them not entering first, and it's the side I disagree with, but here it goes:

I understand that Athens was the start of the modern Olympics back in circa 1896, and that in ancient times, Greeks (and Romans) were at the pinnacle of sports with their Olympic type events. There were the gladiators in Rome, and other events in Greece, including the marathon to pay tribute to the messenger who ran the 26 miles from Marathon to Athens just to shout "Nike!" before falling down dead during a war.


All of that is just that: history. And ancient history. Traditions are not set in stone. They can be changed, modified, even broken. And this is one that needs to be. No one who is watching on TV, which is vastly more than the people at the Games, cares to see the entrance of a country that they may not be from and don't have ties to.

I liken this to World Cup of soccer. That also has its traditions, but ultimately, the only team anyone cares about is THEIR team, not someone else's.

It's time for traditions to die. Just keep it alphabetical throughout, with the host nation entering last.

What's the point of having a ceremony, if it isn't to keep up with traditions?
- It's not like a ceremony has any impact on how the games are actually played.
- People obviously watch, or else it wouldn't be aired on prime time TV

Most people would agree the most popular tradition of the opening ceremonies is the Olympic torch. It is a symbol for the games and tribute to Zeus. The torch is used to help bridge 1 game to another, while creating hype. But what most people don't realize:
- The torch tradition is not as old as Greece entering the stadium first
- The tradition was implemented as an Olympic tradition by the Nazis

If you want to get rid of a tradition, you're going to be opening the deabte for more controversial traditions to be eliminated too, ie the Torch.

Once the torch ceremony is gone, what's next, no children from the host country can be used in the opening because of exploitation of child labor laws? (This would have eliminated the Beijing Games ceremony and gymnastics team)

It's a slippery slope of change, and pretty soon their won't be a ceremony at all. Must hold onto tradition.

I dont think eliminating traditions means eliminating ONLY controversial ones. Believe it or not, the Nazis had a few good ideas, including the Volkswagen, which is also still in use today. but this isn't about Germany in the 1940s. It's about us here and now.

Sure, traditions are fine, but sometimes traditions should, and are, broken/changed. The reasons for such are many: from political disagreements to relevancy, from mundane to archaic.

Unfortunately, the tradition of Greece entering first is not only archaic, but they don't hold as much relevancy or impact (or even clout) in the Games as they used to. The IOC is in France,and Jacques Rogge, the head of the IOC, is French. If anything, France should be marching first as the committee that puts it all together is in large part from there.

Not only that, but the tradition is mundane. It is the same ceremony over and over again. The same countries enter in the same order. Change is good. Change means adaptation. Yes, we can revere Greece for bringing us the Olympics many many many years ago, but oftentimes with the world we live in, we don't care about the past, only the present. And the present dictates for change.

Very well written argument there Gonets. You carefully explained that traditions shouldn't simply because they may have be created by some controversial figures, like the Nazis. While a lot of what they did was horrible, they did manage to do some good too.

Point being you don't just make changes because the past might be somewhat controversial. There has to be a reason to make a change.

While you have stated Greece should no longer be allowed to be the first country to enter, and it is time for other countries to get their turn, despite the purpose behind this tradition. I fail to see the point of why?

Sure you said a change is needed, but why? To give other countries a chance and to break from tradition

Sounds pretty straight forward, except why do other countries need a chance? What right does Albania have of entering first over say Australia or Jamaica? What you ask for isn't change but anarchy. At least Greece has a claim for being the first country to enter, and it should stay that way.

Nice TD Nets

Asking why is a fair question. I pose my answer as a question: why not? There never needs to be reasons for these things, as sometimes things are done with no rhyme or reason. Sometimes change just for the sake of change can be refreshing.

It won't hurt for the Olympics to at least try it out. Give another country the distinction of entering first. If it doesn'twork, switch it back.

Another reason why is because of what I said earlier, relevance. Greece isn't as relevant as they once were in the Games, and alot of the beginning countries alphabetically, like Alberia, for example, have no relevance in these Games.

Switch it for the countries to enter by relevance or quantity of athletes. Those countries with the most athletes enter first, the fewest enter last, or vice versa.

It really doesn't matter how they change it, but changing it up might make things more interesting, instead of it being rote and mundane.

And it's not anarchy. It is just experimenting with different areas to see what is the best way to represent the ceremony of the Games.

Greece is old news. It'stime to switch it up.

Nice TD as well Grillz.

January 18, 2012  11:33 AM ET

Toga! Toga! Toga!

January 18, 2012  11:33 AM ET


January 18, 2012  12:05 PM ET

Toga! Toga! Toga!

You're missed John Belushi.

January 18, 2012  03:31 PM ET

You're missed John Belushi.


Comment #5 has been removed
January 18, 2012  10:08 PM ET


January 18, 2012  10:09 PM ET


I like this topic. But seeing this also makes me happy to be in Sirens.

January 18, 2012  10:48 PM ET

I like this topic. But seeing this also makes me happy to be in Sirens.

I think every non-Sirens topic has made you happy to be in Sirens.

January 19, 2012  08:33 AM ET

Morning bump.

January 19, 2012  11:36 AM ET

Good luck Grillz.

January 20, 2012  07:46 AM ET

Good luck Grillz.

You too Nets.

Comment #12 has been removed
January 20, 2012  08:01 AM ET

Greece. Everyone needs Geese.Sausage, Bacon, etc. should I go on?

Do they fly in a V formation too?

Comment #14 has been removed
Comment #15 has been removed
Comment #16 has been removed
Comment #17 has been removed
January 20, 2012  10:44 AM ET

Word on the street is it is a huge party since these world class athletes in peak physical shape have been doing nothing but training for essentially 4 yrs, and finally get to have fun.

Surprised there hasn't been more inappropriate videos from the Olympic village leaked to the media.

Comment #19 has been removed
January 20, 2012  08:59 PM ET

Why would anybody care?


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