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Did NBC re-arrange Olympic 'parade of nations' in the opening ceremony for ratings?

the united states olympic team as they marched into the Bird's Nest during the opening ceremonies

Most viewers saw a parade on Friday night during NBC's broadcast of the 2008 Beijing Games Opening Ceremony.

But some conspiracy theorists saw a grassy knoll.

A poster at slashdot jumpstarted conversation by wondering if NBC edited the tapes of the 2008 Beijing Games Opening Ceremony before broadcasting the affair Friday night in the U.S.

The supposed goal? Putting the U.S. team at the end of the line in order to keep sleepy Americans in front of the tube.

Didn't happen, according to the network.

"We showed them in the order they marched," a spokesman said. "They didn't march in alphabetical order, but rather in the order of the Chinese alphabet, based on the strokes in the symbols."

Here is a .pdf of the Olympic parade order that the International Olympic Committee released on Aug. 8. According to the IOC press office, it lists the flagbearers "in order of entry into the stadium."

Did the IOC list match up with the actual presentation on NBC? Rev up the DVRs and report back on what you find out.

— Greg Johnson

Photo of the U.S. Olympic team as they marched into the Bird's Nest during the opening ceremonies by Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times

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Comments (23)

You're an idiot. Australia came in 3rd last... it was certainly in Chinese alphabetical order.

Conspiracy theodiots.

Who cares? Wouldn't USA come towards the end of the alphebet anyway?

well, I just tried to watch the parade of nations on NBC's website. I couldn't even find the USA. I found the "official" order and NBC's coverage bounces all over the place. The official list is 5 pages long, and NBC's video goes from teams on pg. 2 to teams on pg. 4, back to pg 2, etc.... They show the inner circle of the track and it's full, but thenext time they show it, there are only a few teams there. I don't know how their official television coverage was, but their video is 100% NOT in order.

No. They did not rearrange it.
i watched the whole thing and wrote down every country as they came out.
it is exact to this list.

Who cares as long as the u.s was there :].We kick butt :D

The line up was not the issue.

NBC seems to be more concerned about blocking broadcasts from other countries, not because of their right, but to avoid Americans seeing the editing that NBC took the liberty of doing to the Opening Ceremony.

After comparing with the BBC broadcast, it is clear NBC discarded certain images of the artistic presentation of the event. At least one of those images was clearly political. The delayed broadcast on Friday night, a blatant act of commercialism, outraged thousands of Americans. However, should this broadcasting company be made to answer about the censorship it imposed on 260 million Americans?
The Olympics are a legitimate news event. Should we expect the same altering of the Closing Ceremonies?

Watched the parade while referring to the list of countries. There was no re-arranging done by NBC.

There *is* something amiss with NBC's coverage of the Opening Ceremony Parade of Nations.

Before a "commercial break", the last teams we see are Poland and Puerto Rico, and Matt Lauer says, "We're back from Beijing, United States in our next segment, after this." There's a break, then they review the teams we "missed" during the commercials: Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Brunei, Barbados, Papua New Guinea. Per the IOC's list, following Puerto Rico should have been: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bangladesh, Boliva, Norway and South Africa.

If the teams entered the stadium in the order slated by the IOC -- which I don't doubt -- Uruguay was something like the 34th country to enter the stadium. If NBC hasn't edited their coverage, how does Uruguay (~34th) suddenly appear after Puerto Rico, who is something like the 140th country to enter?

NBC definitely re-arranged the video. Even before I read this article, it made no sense that there was a shot of Kobe Bryant on the infield of the stadium (that the athletes can only get to *after* entering the stadium) before the USA had supposedly arrived.

If you want to see for yourself, Kobe Bryant is on the infield at 50:54 on NBC's video replay of the Parade of Nations and the USA doesn't enter until 1:19:43 (at NBC's olympics site):



NBC so rearranged the march of nations its ridiculous anyone who says different is blind. One minute they show the USA after they march taking pictures with other countries (Kobe Lebron and Etc.) Then they show them walking across the paint and even commenting on it. Then 1:20:12 They come out..Now unless they ran out and took pictures with people and ran back around, which i doubt, then maybe its in order. But what also bother me was before commercial break france was next then they did a recap and they werent until the second commercial. Its obvious the bounced back and forward.

Just a question: did any of you think that NBC was showing it live? I watched it all LIVE at 10am on the 8th on CBC in Canada. NBC showed it 12 hours later so that American's didn't have to get up early to see it. Please remember China is 12hrs ahead of the East Cost. It can't be 10pm in both places at the same time. NBC's coverage of the Olympics gets worse and worse as the years go on.

I watched the ceremony on Friday evening and I have to say that I turned the volume down because the commentary in the background from the announcers was sooooooooooooo banal,petty,grandstanding and obnoxious at times.God the egos on those morons and their need to blab blab blab so they can feel like the center of attention.No class at all!!!!

i have it on the DVR i will watch it again and report back, im sure kobe and lebron jumped off the line to take a photo and got back on

Whether or not NBC's broadcast follows the list provided by your list seems to be insignificant. I think the most important detail on the list provided is at the very top. The host city is spelled Bejing. I would believe that anyone at the IOC is completely aware how to spell the name of the city of the Olympics: Beijing. So I think the conspiracy question should be whether this is really the official IOC list. Personally, I don't think so. Also, NBC never claimed to show all of the nations in the Parade of Nations. Obviously they skipped some to go to commercial break.

Seriously - do you people have anything better to do?

I really could care less about what order the countries marched in what upset me the most was NBC's blatant cow-towing to the NBA players. Don't we see enough of those uneducated, overpaid fools on a daily basis on television? Enough already, let's see the non-professional athletes that worked their butts off over the past few years to make these olympics, which btw might just be their last opportunity at going to the olympics. don't get me wrong. I am a huge basketball fan but NBC should quit playing favoritism with the NBA players.

Who's the freak holding the flag?

i believe they even mentioned during the broadcast it was in the order according to the strokes in the Chinese alphabet. Some people too stupid to listen?

nope. you can watch the parade of nations here:


at 25:53, they said they're "only 7 or 8 countries away from China." and the host nation, China, is supposed to go last. even check the list. however, they didnt get to China until 1:28:11. So the NBC commentators either lied when they said "7 or 8 countries away" (which is unlikely cuz they even said so themselves that its ordered by chinese alphabet) or those bastards at NBC rearranged the order. go ahead and compare the NBC's order in the video with the IOC order. see for yourself.

if it was pre-recorded why did they need to skip stuff in the ad break?

alec, you're completely correct. i'm just now catching up to my olympics watching and indeed, matt lauer announced after puerto rico that the usa delgation was in their next segment. the next segment then jumps to brazil which is listed in the beginning of the order of nations. note to those who believe NBC, watch just one more time.

alas, i care not about the revisions. the most exciting part was the pageantry before and after the order of nations. :)

I am constantly amazed at all the senseless topics people can find to nit-pick and bitch about. It isn't enough that we were able thru our networks to be able to watch the Olympics in all it's glory. Of course the networks have to edit the broadcasting. They have a limited time to be able to get everthing in for us to see. There are many competitions going on at the same time in different areas and they try to show us as much as they canwith the time they are allotted. What do you expect? Add commercials in there and that cuts more time. Just be proud to be an American and that you have the freedom to sit at home in your comfy recliners and view something perfectly awesome edited or not.

I watched it, and they said many times that the order had to do with the number of strokes it took to write the country in the Chinese calligraphy type writing.

That's the problem with conspiracy theorists, they don't know when to stop "theorizing". They're never happy with reaching the depth of a story, they just keep going and going until it gets absurd, even if they started with something with merit.

Yes there was editing done. This allowed for commercial breaks and the like, but it was all for time, not order.

During the parade of nations an islamic country's atheletes carried a picture of a sheik (red and white checked head scarf). What was that about?


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