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Pierre de Coubertin, Founder of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), initially intended the Modern Olympics to feature both athletic competitions and artistic achievements. Since the Modern Olympics has evolved into a celebration of sport, it is in the opening ceremonies that we see the most of Coubertin's artistic ideals. The ceremonies typically start with the raising of the host country's flag and a performance of its national anthem. The host nation then presents elements of its culture by performing artistic displays of music, song and dance.
The traditional part of the ceremonies starts with a "Parade of Nations", during which participating athletes would march into the stadium, country by country. Each country's delegation is led by a sign with the name of their country and their national flag. Traditionally, Greece enters the stadium first, due to its historical status as the progenitor of the Olympics, while the host nation marches last. All other participating teams march in alphabetical order according to the dominant language of the host country.