The opening ceremonies the Olympic Games will surely be spectacular. The Chinese organizers will have designed a show full of dance, costumes and smashing colors. Athletes from all nations will march in the ceremonies in the parade of nations.
In order to participate in the parade, athletes prepare by wearing the clothing designated by their respective countries. Most countries put narrow limitations on any changes from a designated outfit.
Once dressed and ready to go athletes, and designated staff, need to be transported from the Athlete Village to a location near the Olympic Stadium. Athletes pour from busses and make their way to a holding stadium. This generally involves walking, standing and waiting in several queues.
As with spectators for the ceremonies, participants go through a security process that most probably includes x-ray machines and bag inspections. Few participants will be carrying bags. Some countries do not allow participants to carry anything.
Near the Olympic Stadium, parade participants are held in another stadium. While seated in country designated sections, participants patiently wait to be called to march in the ceremonies. For the wait, organizers provide a snack bag and a drink.
Athletes and staff watch Olympic sport video on big screens placed around the stadium until the start of the ceremonies. Once the ceremonies begin, live footage is placed on the big screens.
At choreographed moments, country groups are lead to the Olympic Stadium doors until they are called into the stadium. Once in the stadium, they become part of the ceremonies.
The opportunity to march in opening or closing ceremonies is one of the things that make the Olympic Games special for participants. The opening ceremonies, however, are not without controversy. Because the process I've described above can take some six to eight hours - or more - athletes looking to turn in good performances in the first few days of the Games often elect to skip opening ceremonies to save their legs and energy for medal performances.
If you don't spot your favorite athlete or athletes marching in the opening ceremonies, perhaps you'll see them on the podium.