The philosophy and ceremonial aspects which surround the Olympic Games distinguish them from all other international sports events. Through music, song, dance and fireworks, the opening and closing ceremonies invite people to discover the culture of the country in which the Games are taking place.
In addition to these celebrations, there are some very precise rituals at the ceremonies. It was at the 1920 Games in Antwerp that most of this protocol was put in place. It has been developed over subsequent editions of the Games.
Today, Rule 55 of the Olympic Charter specifies some of the protocol that has to be followed during the ceremonies and the words used by the head of state of the host country to open the Games. The other main points of the opening ceremony are:
1. Entrance of Head of State and IOC President
2. Playing of the national anthem
3. The parade of the athletes
4. The symbolic release of doves
5. Olympic Laurel Award
6. Official Speeches
7. Opening of the Games
8. Raising the Olympic flag and playing the Olympic Anthem
9. Athletes, judges and coaches’ oath
10. Lighting of the Olympic flame
11. The artistic programme
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