Fab the Opening Ceremony: Fierce Flag-Bearers


Sports Illustrated recently complained that the Opening Ceremony is no longer about the athletes, but instead treats them like filler, and accused them of pandering by encouraging athletes to garb themselves in elaborately native gear they’d otherwise quite possibly never wear. On the former point, I see the argument — it’s nice to honor the host city, but who among us didn’t think, “I am pretty familiar with London already; I want to know more about the Independent Athletes”? — but on the latter… look, just because people don’t wear headdresses a lot in daily life, doesn’t mean it’s not important to them or to their country to show them off every once in a while. I say live large and let live large. Besides, some of the clothes give the flag-bearers a majestic moment they might not otherwise get unless you are watching the judo preliminaries at 3 a.m. Which, maybe you are. I don’t judge. I watched archery this morning and actually applauded.

ANYWAY: Let’s get to the flag-bearers (I will post more on the actual uniforms later). There are only so many slides I can put in these things, so if I missed anybody, I’m sorry. There are a pantload of nations at this sucker and there’s no way somebody wasn’t going to slip through the cracks. Consider this a representative sample, and if you want to nominate someone I missed, please go ahead and link to a photo in the comments. Hooray for the world.

[Photo: Getty]

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Comments (63):

  1. Suzanne
    0

    The creepy balloon puppet thing was “suppose” to be the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland. I say it’s just creepy and disjointed. But Voldemort being throttled by the likes of Mary Poppins cracked me up.

  2. Jessica
    0

    The Olympics: where we learn about hot people from other countries. Although I too was surprised at how nicely Pau Gasol cleans up, and he lives in my city.

  3. marcia
    0

    The volunteer who carried Tuvalu’s name banner was crushing that track like a runway. All the other banner carriers were just walking along like normal folk, but she had a serious model stomp walk going on. Some agency needs to sign her up!

  4. marcia
    0

    And Bob Costas. Bob Costas has lost me forever. He made snarky cracks about Idi Amin when the Ugandans came in and about Kim Jong-Il when North Korea marched. What’s next Bob? Some knee-slappers about Hitler and Stalin for the German and Russian delegations? Mass murdering despots are always good for a few laughs. And that doesn’t EVEN take into account the complete and utter inanities he spouted the rest of the time (did we really need to hear about Finland’s graduated traffic fine system our could we have, you know, shown some RESPECT to people who have worked their entire lives to get to the Olympics?)

  5. TL
    0

    I’m all for pointing out the hot Olympians that I may not otherwise notice. More please! And in that vein…I am sure Camille Lacourt is wearing (or not wearing) something noteworty, and for which lots of photos are needed.

  6. Willow
    0

    I teared up when the Qatar team came out and the flag was being carried by Bahia Al Hamad, for them to let a woman carry the flag during the first games that the allowed women to compete in was a very special moment.

    • Edith
      0

      She was also AMAZINGLY beautiful, even in that mass of thousands of young, athletic, happy, attractive people. Iraq had a female flag bearer too, iirc, who similarly brought tears to my eyes.

      • lilywise
        0

        i agree on all counts. That was a special moment. I muted the NBC jabber so I could just focus on the visual.

  7. Lesley
    0

    Holy Romania….

    • Sarah
      0

      He is super hot! Makes me feel old, he was born in 1985!

      • Heidi
        0

        I was born in ’88 so he’s the perrrrfect age for me! Plus I love pretty much any clothing item that’s mustard colour. Thanks GFY for finding me my future husband!

  8. Stella
    0

    No mention of the Independent Olympic Participants? They were adorable and may have stolen my heart.

  9. Daffodil
    0

    I am very concerned for Josateki Naulu. I mean, I realize he’s from Fiji, where you can wander beaches and not need shoes, but I don’t think the Olympic stadium is as kind to your tootsies as sand. And I don’t know much (or anything) about judo, but I would think that if you’re trying to win an Olympic medal in it, you would need your feet to be in good working order.

    I LOVE Evelyn Garcia’s heels. So badass.

    And Horia Tecau is the hotness. Oh, Olympics. It’s so nice of you to be a nonstop parade of hotness on my TV right at the most suffocating part of the summer when I’m naturally inclined to stay indoors and watch TV anyway. (Also, I missed Romania parade in on the TV machine the other night, so thank you, Heather!)

    • Daffodil
      0

      Oh, also, the placard-bearer with Mexico has really, really pretty hair and eye makeup. She should offer lessons. When she’s not all Dennis-Franzed up, that is. I don’t think I could bear having Sipowicz around when I’m learning how to impart lasting shine and bounce.

    • Edith
      0

      I, too, am very concerned about Josateki Naulu. I think I should fly to London and check on him RIGHT NOW. I kept expecting him to say “I’m carrying a flag. And now that flag is DIAMONDS.”

    • tshirt
      0

      DAFFODIL, don’t worry. We Fijians tend to have feet very tough feet. I cut mine on broken glass playing netball and didn’t realise until after the game.

      By the way, if you were to marry Josateki, you do realise he’d wear something not dissimilar to his outfit here? You’re looking at tradtional Fijian formal wear.

  10. Liz
    0

    No Independent Olympic Athletes? They were so awesome. So happy to be there.

  11. Meg
    0

    It was so mean to make the US women wear white socks(!) with those shoes and that skirt length. Come on, Ralph.

  12. Lynne
    0

    Holy cow, marcia, I totally forgot about the Idi Amin and Kim Jong-Il cracks. They were so odd. I tried to chalk it up to maybe sleep deprivation? But then I remembered it was the FIRST DAY so he couldn’t claim exhaustion just yet.

    Willow, me too about the Qatar flag bearer! I also got a little misty when Syria entered since their country is pretty much on fire right now. They looked so damn proud.

  13. Sonya
    0

    That Romanian tennis player is HOT! How did I miss him!?

  14. Cristina
    0

    I ALSO applauded during archery!

  15. Scobes
    0

    I wish you’d gotten a picture of the Afghani flag bearer. Talk about a beautiful man!

  16. annmartina
    0

    The Most Interesting Man in the World has asked Javier Culson to be his personal shopper.

  17. Dazie
    0

    I love the Olympics. Everyone is SO GORGEOUS. And happy and gorgeous. *swoon*

  18. Amanda Richards
    0

    What about the Czechs and their salute to London’s rainy weather with their Wellies?

  19. Amber
    0

    Thank you for this! I love the parade of nations and it went by so fast on Friday night, I didn’t get a good look at everyone. Not to mention when NBC cut to commercial and then flew through like 6 countries at once when they came back. I understand that they need to pay the bills, but can’t they do the opening ceremony with no commercials?
    Anyway, I, too, love the native clothing on the flag bearers. Show off your country! It’s the Olympics! This is especially true for those countries that might not otherwise get a lot of air time.

    • Edith
      0

      They could do both, actually, since they don’t show it live. Just insert commercial, and come back where they left off. It’s not rocket science, people.

      • lilywise
        0

        Seriously, THIS. This is what drives me crazy about NBC — everything is on tape delay anyway, so there is no need to insert an interview instead of show us the 7/7 tribute, or skip some countries in the parade of nations, or NOT HAVE DECENT PATTER during the parade. You’re not surprised by what’s coming.

        • marcia
          0

          I hadn’t even thought about that. Definitely enough time for someone to say, “man, that comment makes us sound like dicks, we better edit that out.” But noooo………..full speed ahead.

  20. sarah
    0

    I actually tearing up reading this. I love the Olympics. All these earnest, young, beautiful, hardworking, dedicated people are such a lovely diversion from the usual we see featured on this site. ps. More Romanian Tennis player please!

  21. Edith
    0

    The Nicauraguan flag bearer was so lovely that my not-yet-paying-attention-to-boys 9 year old daughter exclaimed “Well, HELLO Mr. Handsome!”

  22. Other Emily
    0

    I have to give a lot of credit to the cameramen, who magically zoomed in on every bit of international hotness. I thoroughly enjoyed the endless parade of nations. Flag-bearer for Jordan was also one heckuva gorgeous lady. My husband actually rewound her so he could watch her again. So I did the same for Mr. Romanian Hotness.

  23. em
    0

    So my dad is from Belarus….and I’ve visited……and I really need to speak with my dad as to why fine specimens like that exist over there and I was entreated with NONE!

  24. Megan
    0

    Everyone here is like a 12 on a 10-point scale, easily. Except that last guy; he’s a 20. It reminds me of the articles that always crop up around the Olympics, where some reporter writes about all the sexy fun times going down in the Olympic Village.

  25. Divya
    0

    Sigh! This has got to be one of the best pieces of the Olympics coverage. I laud you ladies nay I salute you for you have done womankind a great service especially for bringing the man in the mustard blazer and the Fiji Pecs to our attention. Bravo!

  26. KMG
    0

    So, apparently one of the German female gymnasts is 37. If Fug Nation were accepted by the IOC, then someone could easily be sent like Hayley Nemra and the Marshall Islands. Go Fug Nation! Our uniforms would rock. The flag bearer for Ireland is one of the best female boxes in the world – I shudder to think what Bob Costas would say about that.

  27. luxsword
    0

    Now there’s some fun stuff here.

  28. Sandra
    0

    In defense of Sports Illustrated, I think they would have been pleased at an athlete (cf New Zealand) demonstrating some cultural pride. It’s all the stuff that happens before the Parade of Nations that they were complaining about. And we’ve all said enough about that part already anyway.

    And I feel so proud to be a part of the great FugNation outpouring of “holy hell, these people are all so amazingly gorgeous!”. There is nothing like extremely fit and healthy young people running around in all sorts of tightly fitted sports gear. Though it does get distracting. I was watching the heats of the men’s eights in rowing and totally forgot to pay attention to who was winning because I was sooooo distracted by the boats full of beautiful boys all moving in perfect unison.

  29. vandalfan
    0

    Fiji Pecs, another good name for a band.

    The name-bearers looked so odd, not only with the stiff Dalek-like dresses with the imprinted faces, but also metal words sprouting from their shoulders. Not to worry, Dennis Franz is hiding out here in North Idaho these days. Seems to be settling in OK; he’s helping with a community theater fundraiser this Wednesday.

  30. Carrie Ann
    0

    “He’s uber-dapper. He takes “dapper” out back and forces it to clean up its act. His suits voluntarily iron themselves, and his shirts pay HIM for the pleasure of tucking themselves in.”

    I loved this very much, Heather. Keep these posts coming!

  31. Cat
    0

    Great slide show– loved it! Hilarious AND informative!

    On a shallow note, I’m so glad you included the Salvadoran flag bearer with her awesome shoes– I noticed them first thing when they walked in.

  32. Alice
    0

    I am a little confused on why Caster is wearing the boy-version jacket, with the blue panel?

  33. Mahastee
    0

    In a game of word association, if you say “Ziggy”, I will always answer “Stardust”. I feel blessed that I don’t know the Ziggy you are referring to, for he may sully my treasured memories of Bowie in sparkly boots and short-shorts.

    Also, I’m going to Indonesia next week (yay) I will keep an eye out for those pot holders :)

  34. katiecoops
    0

    Thank you for showing Mongolia! I lived there when I was younger and was quite miffed when NBC came back from commercial and Bob Costas said “There’s Mongolia” and THAT WAS IT. Seriously? Nothing else? Bah.
    Anyway, there are some seriously attractive people at the Olympics. How did they get so lucky to be so talented AND so good-looking?

    • Sandra
      0

      Because athletic ability and physical attractiveness are both closely related to bodily symmetry, that’s why. Your balance and agility are better the closer to exact mirror images the two sides of your body are. There is a theory kicking around that we find symmetry attractive because it is an indication of health and fertility. I would like to go to the Olympics and test this theory. ;)

  35. Lindsey
    0

    I love this! Thank you! I actually clapped when Qatar and its first femal flag bearer came out. So cool. My heart also goes out to Caster. Having to prove your sex on a worldwide stage has to be hugely embarrassing, but she handled it with class and grace.

    I love love love the parade of nations. Everyone just looks lao happy to be there! Some of the nations looked like a complete party, too.

  36. junibacken
    0

    Well actually the pillowcase/potholder pattern from Indonesia is called batik. And we have tons of different patterns if you don’t like this one :D

  37. Sajorina
    0

    The flag-bearers’ María del Rosario Espinosa from Mexico & Evelyn García from El Salvador are my Olympic idols! Plus, Pau Gasol & Javier Culson made me proud! So handsome…

  38. shorty jay
    0

    “just because people don’t wear headdresses a lot in daily life, doesn’t mean it’s not important to them or to their country to show them off every once in a while”
    Exactly! If there’s ever an occasion where it WOULD be appropriate to wear, say, a headdress, I’d imagine this is the occasion. But I think of the opening ceremonies kind of like a drag show.

  39. Lily1214
    0

    Love it, love it, love it.

  40. Akit
    0

    Brilliant!

  41. Bee Rachael Greenberg
    0

    I’m a bit disappointed with the German and Austrian (my nationalities) flag bearers. I wish Natascha Keller and Markus Rogan had worn a dirndl or lederhosen. That, combined with Deutschland’s oddly baby shower-esque uniforms, is not exactly patriotic. Ich bin sehr enttauscht! Oh well. At least the guys are easy on the eyes. Especially the men’s gymnastics team. Hallo, Jungen!

  42. Guerra
    0

    Love the Latina in heels, so typical lol (from a Latina)