1998 Winter Olympics national flag bearers
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During the Parade of Nations section of the 1998 Winter Olympics opening ceremony, athletes from each country participating in the Olympics paraded in the arena. The flag from each team was borne by a sportsperson from that country chosen either by the National Olympic Committee or by the athletes themselves to represent their country. Unlike the usual practice, the parade of nations was organized according to the English alphabet instead of host nation's language, Japanese. The reasoning behind this is that if Japanese had been used, the teams from political foes China and Chinese Taipei (informally known as Taiwan) would have marched in succession, which neither wanted to do at the time. Greece led the parade, followed by Andorra. Had the parade followed the Japanese characters, Greece would have been followed by Iceland, and Russia would have been the penultimate country before Japan. One sumo wrestler and one yukiko (lit. snow children) which bears a country name sign marched before each delegation. Some of famous sumo wrestlers such as Takanonami and Wakanohana accompanied the teams. The yukikos also took part in several other segments in the ceremony.
- "Akebono to perform 'dohyo-iri' at Olympic opening". shinmai.co.jp. January 28, 1998. Retrieved 27 July 2015.