List of people who have opened the Olympic Games

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Vice President Michel Temer is the most recent person to have opened a Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 Michel Temer (foto oficial).jpg
Vice President Michel Temer is the most recent person to have opened a Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in 2016
President Moon Jae-in is the most recent person to have opened a Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang in 2018 Moon Jae-in presidential portrait.jpg
President Moon Jae-in is the most recent person to have opened a Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang in 2018
President Simonetta Sommaruga is the most recent person to have opened a Youth Olympics in Lausanne in 2020 Simonetta Sommaruga 2016.jpg
President Simonetta Sommaruga is the most recent person to have opened a Youth Olympics in Lausanne in 2020

The Olympic Games are an international multi-sport event featuring both summer and winter sports, held every two years with Summer and Winter Olympic Games alternating. During Olympic Games opening ceremonies, the sitting president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) will make a speech before inviting a representative from the host country to officially declare that particular Games open. The current Olympic Charter requires this person to be the head of state of the host country, [1] although this has not always been the case. This article lists the people who have had the ceremonial duty to declare each Olympic Games open.

Contents

Opening ceremony

The IOC factsheet on the opening ceremony states: "According to the Olympic Charter protocol, the duty of declaring the Games officially open falls to the head of state of the host country. Those who have performed this task are royalty and presidents, or their representatives, whether it was a vice-president, a member of the royal family, or a governor-general". [2] Rule 56 of Chapter 5 of the Olympic Charter sets out the exact words that are to be declared by the person opening the Games. If at a Summer Olympic Games, the words to be said are:

I declare open the Games of [name of host city] celebrating the [number of the Olympiad] Olympiad of the modern era. [1]

When at a Winter Olympic Games, the dignitary opening the Games is to proclaim:

I declare open the [number of the Olympic Winter Games] Olympic Winter Games of [name of host city]. [1]

However, this has not always been followed strictly;

In 1960, Giovanni Gronchi, President of the Italian Republic, declares the Summer Olympics in Rome open by speaking in Italian:

"I proclaim the opening of the Olympic Games of Rome, celebrating the XVII Olympiad of the modern era."

In 1964, Emperor Hirohito of Japan, opened the Summer Olympics in Tokyo by speaking in Japanese:

"Celebrating the XVIII Modern Olympiad, I will declare the opening of the Olympic Games Tokyo competition here."

In 1968, Mexican president Gustavo Diaz Ordaz opened the Games of Mexico City in Spanish:

"Today, 12 October 1968, I declare inaugurated the Olympic Games in Mexico, that commemorate the XIX Olympiad of the modern era."

In 1972, German president Gustav Heinmann opened the Games of Munich speaking in German:

"I declare the Olympic Games Munich 1972, celebrating the XX Olympiad of the modern era, open."

In 1976, Elizabeth II, as Queen of Canada, opened the Montreal Olympics (first in French followed by the English) with:

"I declare open the Olympic Games of 1976, celebrating the XXI Olympiad of the modern era."

In 1980, Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev opened the Moscow Summer Olympics speaking in Russian:

"Mr. President of International Olympic Committee! Comrades! I declare open the Olympic Games of 1980, celebrating the XXII Olympiad of the modern era."

In 1984, U.S. President Ronald Reagan opened the Los Angeles Summer Olympics with:

"Celebrating the XXIII Olympiad of the modern era, I declare open the Olympic Games of Los Angeles."

In 1988, President of the Republic of Korea, Roh Tae-woo opened the Summer Olympics in Seoul by speaking in Korean:

"I declare that I hold the Seoul Olympic Games while celebrating the XXIV modern Olympic Games."

In 1992, King Juan Carlos I of Spain opened the Barcelona Summer Olympics with:

"(In Catalan) Welcome all to Barcelona. (In Spanish) Today, 25 July of the Year 1992, I declare open the Barcelona Olympic Games that celebrate the XXV Olympiad of the modern era."

In 1996, U.S. President Bill Clinton opened the Atlanta Summer Olympics with:

"I declare open the Games of Atlanta, celebrating the XXVI Olympiad of the modern era."

In 1998, Emperor Akihito of Japan opened the Olympic Winter Games in Nagano by speaking in Japanese:

"Here, I will declare the opening of the XVIII Olympic Winter Games in Nagano."

In 2000, Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia Sir William Deane opened the Sydney Summer Olympics with:

"I declare open the Games of Sydney, celebrating the XXVII Olympiad of the modern era."

In 2002, U.S. President George W. Bush opened the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City using the format of the Summer Games declaration (which took place five months after the September 11 attacks) with:

"On behalf of a proud, determined and grateful nation, I declare open the Games of Salt Lake City, celebrating the Olympic Winter Games."

In 2004, Konstantinos Stephanopoulos, President of the Hellenic Republic, opened the 2004 Athens Summer Olympics by speaking in Greek:

"I declare the opening of the Olympic Games of Athens and the celebration of the XXVIII Olympiad of the modern era."

In 2006, Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, President of the Italian Republic, opened the Turin Olympic Winter Games using the format of the Summer Games declaration by speaking in Italian:

"I declare open of Turin the celebration of the XX Winter Olympic Games."

In 2008, Hu Jintao, the President of the People's Republic of China, opened the Beijing Summer Olympics by speaking in Mandarin:

"I declare, the XXIX Olympic Games of Beijing, open."

In 2010, the Governor General of Canada, Michaëlle Jean, opened the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver using the format of the Summer Games declaration by saying in French and English:

"I declare open the Games of Vancouver, celebrating the 21st Olympic Winter Games." [3]

In 2012, Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, declares the opening of the 2012 London Summer Olympics, following the 60th anniversary of her accession to the throne, with:

"I declare open the Games of London, celebrating the XXX Olympiad of the modern era."

In 2014, Vladimir Putin, the President of the Russian Federation, declares the opening of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics by speaking in Russian:

"The XXII Olympic Winter Games in Sochi I declare open."

In 2016, Brazilian Vice President Michel Temer, as acting president during the suspension of President Dilma Rousseff, opened the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro with (speaking in Brazilian Portuguese):

"After this wonderful spectacle, I declare open the Rio Olympic Games, celebrating the XXXI Olympiad of the Modern Era."

In 2018, Moon Jae-in, President of the Republic of Korea declares the opening of the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics by speaking in Korean:

"I declare open the Pyeongchang XXIII Winter Olympic Games."

Dignitaries who have opened the Olympic Games

Adolf Hitler Adolf Hitler Berghof-1936.jpg
Adolf Hitler
Giovanni Gronchi Giovanni Gronchi.jpg
Giovanni Gronchi
Hirohito Zhao He Tian Huang .jpg
Hirohito
Elizabeth II Queen Elizabeth II in March 2015.jpg
Elizabeth II

As of 2018, there have been 47 different individuals who opened the Olympic Games. Four of them have done so more than once. German führer Adolf Hitler was the first person to open more than one Olympic Games; he opened the 1936 Winter and Summer Olympics, both of which were hosted in Germany. He remains the only one to open more than one Games in the same year.

Italian president Giovanni Gronchi opened the 1956 Winter Olympics in Cortina d'Ampezzo and the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome. He was the first democratically elected head of state to open more than one Olympic Games.

Japanese emperor Hirohito opened the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo and the 1972 Winter Olympics in Sapporo. He was the first non-European to open more than one Olympic Games.

Queen Elizabeth II opened the 1976 in Montreal, Canada, and 2012 Summer Olympics in London, Great Britain. She is the first woman to open more than one Olympic Games, first person to open more than one Summer Olympics, and the only one to do so in different host countries. Aside from declaring open the Games by herself, she was represented during the declaration four times: in the 1956 and 2000 Summer Olympics – both were held in Australia – as well as the 1988 and 2010 Winter Olympics – both were held in Canada.

YearGamesHost cityOfficially opened by [lower-alpha 1] Office of opener [lower-alpha 1] Notes
1896 I Olympiad Flag of Greece (1822-1978).svg Athens, Greece George I King of the Hellenes [4]
1900 II Olympiad Flag of France (1794-1815, 1830-1958).svg Paris, France No official openingNo official opening [5]
1904 III Olympiad Flag of the United States (1896-1908).svg St. Louis, United States David R. Francis President of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition [lower-alpha 2] [6]
1908 IV Olympiad Flag of the United Kingdom.svg London, United Kingdom Edward VII King of the United Kingdom [7]
1912 V Olympiad Flag of Sweden.svg Stockholm, Sweden Gustaf V King of Sweden [8]
1920 VII Olympiad Flag of Belgium (civil).svg Antwerp, Belgium Albert I King of the Belgians [9]
1924 VIII Olympiad Flag of France (1794-1815, 1830-1958).svg Paris, France Gaston Doumergue President of the French Republic [10]
1928 IX Olympiad Flag of the Netherlands.svg Amsterdam, Netherlands Prince Hendrik Prince Consort of the Netherlands [lower-alpha 3] [11]
1932 X Olympiad Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg Los Angeles, United States Charles Curtis Vice President of the United States [lower-alpha 4] [12]
1936 XI Olympiad Flag of Germany (1935-1945).svg Berlin, Germany Adolf Hitler Führer and Reich Chancellor of the German People [lower-alpha 5] [13]
1948 XIV Olympiad Flag of the United Kingdom.svg London, Great Britain George VI King of the United Kingdom [14]
1952 XV Olympiad Flag of Finland.svg Helsinki, Finland Juho Kusti Paasikivi President of the Republic of Finland [15]
1956 XVI Olympiad Flag of Australia (converted).svg Melbourne, Australia The Duke of Edinburgh Consort of the Queen of Australia [lower-alpha 6] [16]
1956 XVI Olympiad (equestrian) Flag of Sweden.svg Stockholm, Sweden Gustaf VI Adolf King of Sweden [17]
1960 XVII Olympiad Flag of Italy.svg Rome, Italy Giovanni Gronchi President of the Italian Republic [18]
1964 XVIII Olympiad Flag of Japan (1870-1999).svg Tokyo, Japan Hirohito Emperor of Japan [19]
1968 XIX Olympiad Flag of Mexico.svg Mexico City, Mexico Gustavo Díaz Ordaz President of the United Mexican States [20]
1972 XX Olympiad Flag of Germany.svg Munich, West Germany Gustav Heinemann President of the Federal Republic of Germany [21]
1976 XXI Olympiad Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg Montreal, Canada Elizabeth II Queen of Canada [22]
1980 XXII Olympiad Flag of the Soviet Union.svg Moscow, Soviet Union Leonid Brezhnev Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics [lower-alpha 7] [23]
1984 XXIII Olympiad Flag of the United States.svg Los Angeles, United States Ronald Reagan President of the United States [24]
1988 XXIV Olympiad Flag of South Korea (1984-1997).svg Seoul, Republic of Korea Roh Tae-woo President of the Republic of Korea [25]
1992 XXV Olympiad Flag of Spain.svg Barcelona, Spain Juan Carlos I King of Spain [26]
1996 XXVI Olympiad Flag of the United States.svg Atlanta, United States Bill Clinton President of the United States [27]
2000 XXVII Olympiad Flag of Australia (converted).svg Sydney, Australia William Deane Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia [lower-alpha 8] [28] [29] [30] [31] [32]
2004 XXVIII Olympiad Flag of Greece.svg Athens, Greece Konstantinos Stephanopoulos President of the Hellenic Republic [33]
2008 XXIX Olympiad Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg Beijing, China PR Hu Jintao President of the People's Republic of China [lower-alpha 9] [34]
2012 XXX Olympiad Flag of the United Kingdom.svg London, Great Britain Elizabeth II Queen of the United Kingdom [35]
2016 XXXI Olympiad Flag of Brazil.svg Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Michel Temer Vice President of the Federative Republic of Brazil [lower-alpha 10]
2020 XXXII Olympiad Flag of Japan.svg Tokyo, Japan Naruhito (expected) Emperor of Japan
2024 XXXIII Olympiad Flag of France.svg Paris, France Emmanuel Macron or his successor President of the French Republic
2028 XXXIV Olympiad Flag of the United States.svg Los Angeles, United States Joe Biden or his successor President of the United States

Notes:

  1. 1 2 Names & offices in italics reflect an opener who was not head of state when he or she opened the Games. If the office is partially italicized, the non-italicized portion is the office & name of the head of state being represented.
  2. Representing President Theodore Roosevelt.
  3. Representing his wife, Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands.
  4. Representing President Herbert Hoover.
  5. IOC records state Hitler opened these Games as "Chancellor" (head of government), but in 1934 that office was consolidated with "President" (head of state) into "Führer und Reichskanzler", or "Führer".
  6. Representing his wife, Elizabeth II, Queen of Australia.
  7. IOC records state Brezhnev opened the Moscow Games as "President", a title used at that time by the Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet, or de jure head of state. (The office of President of the Soviet Union was not created until 1990, a year before the nation broke up.) Though Brezhnev was also de facto ruler as General Secretary of the Communist Party, that title is not reflected in IOC records.
  8. Representing Elizabeth II, Queen of Australia.
  9. IOC records state Hu Jintao opened the Beijing Games as "President", de jure head of state. Though Hu was also de facto ruler as General Secretary of the Communist Party of China, that title is not reflected in IOC records.
  10. As Acting President, discharging the powers and duties of the office of President of the Federative Republic of Brazil in place of incumbent President Dilma Rousseff, who was suspended from her duties as President during her impeachment trial.

Dignitaries who have opened the Winter Olympics

YearGamesHost cityOfficially opened by [lower-alpha 1] Office of opener [lower-alpha 1] Notes
1924 I Winter Flag of France (1794-1815, 1830-1958).svg Chamonix, France Gaston Vidal Undersecretary for Physical Education of the French Republic [lower-alpha 2] [36]
1928 II Winter Flag of Switzerland.svg St. Moritz, Switzerland Edmund Schulthess President of the Swiss Confederation [lower-alpha 3] [37]
1932 III Winter Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg Lake Placid, United States Franklin D. Roosevelt Governor of the State of New York [lower-alpha 4] [38]
1936 IV Winter Flag of Germany (1935-1945).svg Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany Adolf Hitler Führer and Reich Chancellor of the German People [lower-alpha 5] [39]
1948 V Winter Flag of Switzerland.svg St. Moritz, Switzerland Enrico Celio President of the Swiss Confederation [lower-alpha 3] [40]
1952 VI Winter Flag of Norway.svg Oslo, Norway Princess Ragnhild Princess of Norway [lower-alpha 6] [41]
1956 VII Winter Flag of Italy.svg Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy Giovanni Gronchi President of the Italian Republic [42]
1960 VIII Winter Flag of the United States (1959-1960).svg Squaw Valley, United States Richard Nixon Vice President of the United States [lower-alpha 7] [43]
1964 IX Winter Flag of Austria.svg Innsbruck, Austria Adolf Schärf Federal President of the Republic of Austria [44]
1968 X Winter Flag of France (1794-1815, 1830-1958).svg Grenoble, France Charles de Gaulle President of the French Republic [45]
1972 XI Winter Flag of Japan (1870-1999).svg Sapporo, Japan Hirohito Emperor of Japan [46]
1976 XII Winter Flag of Austria.svg Innsbruck, Austria Rudolf Kirchschläger Federal President of the Republic of Austria [47]
1980 XIII Winter Flag of the United States.svg Lake Placid, United States Walter Mondale Vice President of the United States [lower-alpha 8] [48]
1984 XIV Winter Flag of Yugoslavia (1946-1992).svg Sarajevo, Yugoslavia Mika Špiljak President of the Presidency of Yugoslavia [49]
1988 XV Winter Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg Calgary, Canada Jeanne Sauvé Governor General of Canada [lower-alpha 9] [50]
1992 XVI Winter Flag of France.svg Albertville, France François Mitterrand President of the French Republic [51]
1994 XVII Winter Flag of Norway.svg Lillehammer, Norway Harald V King of Norway [52]
1998 XVIII Winter Flag of Japan (1870-1999).svg Nagano, Japan Akihito Emperor of Japan [53]
2002 XIX Winter Flag of the United States.svg Salt Lake City, United States George W. Bush President of the United States [54]
2006 XX Winter Flag of Italy (2003-2006).svg Turin, Italy Carlo Azeglio Ciampi President of the Italian Republic [55]
2010 XXI Winter Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg Vancouver, Canada Michaëlle Jean Governor General of Canada [lower-alpha 9] [56]
2014 XXII Winter Flag of Russia.svg Sochi, Russian Federation Vladimir Putin President of the Russian Federation [57]
2018 XXIII Winter Flag of South Korea.svg Pyeongchang, Republic of Korea Moon Jae-in President of the Republic of Korea
2022 XXIV Winter Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg Beijing, China PR Xi Jinping (expected) President of the People's Republic of China [lower-alpha 10]
2026 XXV Winter Flag of Italy.svg Milan and Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy Sergio Mattarella or his successor President of the Italian Republic
  1. 1 2 Names & offices in italics reflect an opener who was not head of state when he or she opened the Games. If the office is partially italicized, the non-italicized portion is the office & name of the head of state being represented.
  2. Representing President Alexandre Millerand.
  3. 1 2 This office is technically not head of state in and of itself, but is the presiding officer of the Federal Council which collectively acts as head of state.
  4. Representing President Herbert Hoover.
  5. IOC records state Hitler opened these Games as "Chancellor" (head of government), but in 1934 that office was consolidated with "President" (head of state) into "Führer und Reichskanzler", or "Führer".
  6. Representing her grandfather, King Haakon VII of Norway.
  7. Representing President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
  8. Representing President Jimmy Carter.
  9. 1 2 Representing Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada.
  10. Xi Jinping is the "Chinese President", de jure head of state. Xi is also de facto ruler as General Secretary of the Communist Party of China.

Dignitaries who have opened the Youth Olympic Games

YearGamesHost cityOfficially opened byOffice of openerNotes
2010 I Summer Flag of Singapore.svg  Singapore S.R. Nathan President of the Republic of Singapore
2012 I Winter Flag of Austria.svg Innsbruck, Austria Heinz Fischer Federal President of the Republic of Austria
2014 II Summer Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg Nanjing, China PR Xi Jinping President of the People's Republic of China [lower-alpha 1]
2016 II Winter Flag of Norway.svg Lillehammer, Norway Harald V King of Norway
2018 III Summer Flag of Argentina.svg Buenos Aires, Argentina Mauricio Macri President of the Argentine Republic
2020 III Winter Flag of Switzerland.svg Lausanne, Switzerland Simonetta Sommaruga President of the Swiss Confederation
2024 IV Winter Flag of South Korea.svg Gangwon Province, Republic of Korea TBD President of the Republic of Korea
2026 IV Summer Flag of Senegal.svg Dakar, Senegal TBD President of the Republic of Senegal

Notes:

  1. IOC records state Xi Jinping opened the Nanjing Games as "President", de jure head of state. Though Xi was also de facto ruler as General Secretary of the Communist Party of China, that title is not reflected in IOC records.

See also

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