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Everything to Know About the Paris Olympics Opening Ceremony

Here's where and when it will take place, how to watch it, and who is carrying the torch

Dalene Rovenstine
Paris Summer Olympics 2024

Paris Summer Olympics 2024

Chesnot/Getty Images

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The Paris Olympics Opening Ceremony has a lot of history to look back on. Boxing legend and gold medalist Muhammed Ali shocked the crowd when he lit the Olympic Cauldron for the 1996 Atlanta Summer Games after his retirement and Parkinson's diagnosis. Luciano Pavarotti sang an aria in Torino 2006, in what ended up being his last public performance. A "rocketman" arrived at the Los Angeles Coliseum in 1984 via jet pack for the Summer Olympics. 

No matter what country hosts, the Olympics Opening Ceremonies are always full of fanfare and memorable moments. As the world looks toward the 2024 Summer Olympics, people are wondering what to expect from the Paris Olympics Opening Ceremony. Here, we outline everything we know so far about the 2024 Summer Olympics Opening Ceremony, including when and where you can watch it in the U.S., who will host the telecast, and more.

How can I watch the 2024 Summer Olympics Opening Ceremony?

For the first time ever, you can watch the Olympics Opening Ceremony in IMAX theaters nationwide. NBCUniversal has the U.S. broadcasting rights for the 2024 Olympics, so the Paris Opening Ceremony will be aired live on its network channels and streaming services — and NBC's coverage will be presented by IMAX at more than 150 locations throughout the U.S.

You can watch the Opening Ceremony live on NBC or Peacock on Friday, July 26, beginning at noon ET. Spanish-language coverage of the ceremony will begin at 1 p.m. ET on Telemundo. The ceremony will be played again in primetime at 7:30 pm ET/PT on NBC and Peacock.

TODAY show hosts Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb will be joined by Kelly Clarkson, Peyton Manning, and NBC Olympics primetime host Mike Tirico to host the NBC Opening Ceremony special.

What to know about the Paris Olympics Opening Ceremony

The Opening Ceremony for the Games of the XXXIII Olympiad in Paris will be unlike any Opening Ceremony we've seen before. Unlike in past years when the celebration kicks off in a coliseum or arena, Paris will host their special event along the River Seine. 

Although the main event usually kicks off with a cultural presentation, Paris is putting athletes at the forefront of the Opening Ceremony: More than 80 boats will carry 10,500 athletes down the river for six kilometers (3.7 miles) from Pont d'Austerlitz to Pont d'Iéna. The Parade of Athletes will kickstart the ceremony with artistic performances preceding the parade. When the athletes disembark their boats, the final part of the ceremony will be held at the Trocadéro, an area which overlooks the Eiffel Tower. 

When the ceremony commences, the 2024 Summer Games will officially be opened.

What is the Parade of Nations?

As part of the Opening Ceremony for each Olympic Games, athletes participate in the Parade of Nations: Each participating country enters the stadium (for Paris 2024, athletes will float the River Seine by boat) with a flagbearer leading their delegation. 

Since the 1928 Summer Games, Greece has led the parade due to its role in originating the ancient Olympic Games. Typically, the remaining countries follow in alphabetical order based on the host country's official language with the host country going last. This means in Paris, after Greece, countries would go alphabetically in French, and France would be the last boat in the flotilla.

Who will carry the U.S. flag at the Summer Games?

Historically, a notable athlete (either from the current Olympics or previous games) leads each delegation and carries the country's flag. As of 2020, the International Olympic Committee allows two flag bearers — one female and one male — for each country. 

The U.S. has not yet named its flag bearers for the 2024 Paris Olympics. In 2020, the roles were given to baseball player Eddy Alvarez and basketball player Sue Bird, both of whom were competing that year—so it's likely that athletes who are competing in the 2024 Games will be given the title again. 

What will Team USA wear at the Opening Ceremony?

Team USA is gonna look goooooood. Ralph Lauren designed the uniforms that all American athletes will wear as part of the Opening Ceremony. 

Who will light the Olympic flame at the Paris Olympics?

The Olympic flame typically takes a journey around the globe until an athlete lights the cauldron in the host city during the Opening Ceremony to mark the start of the next games. However, that final athlete is almost always left a surprise — as is the case this year. 

The journey to Paris began in April when the flame was lit in Olympia, the birthplace of the ancient Olympics. The first athlete to carry the flame was Greek Olympic gold medalist rower Stefanos Ntouskos. Until the Opening Ceremony lighting on Friday, July 26, there will be some 10,000 torchbearers passing it in a relay.

Get ready for the 2024 Summer Olympics

To make sure you're ready to watch all the action, sign up for Peacock now. Find an IMAX theater near you to view the Opening Ceremony at IMAX.com.

How to watch the 2024 Summer Olympics Opening Ceremony from anywhere with a VPN

If you're abroad and don't want to miss out on the 2024 Summer Olympics Opening Ceremony, VPN services such as ExpressVPN or Private Internet Access can be a lifesaver. By masking your location, these VPNs let you access US streaming platforms from anywhere in the world. Private Internet Access plans start at just $2 per month, while ExpressVPN is currently offering a 49% discount on its yearly subscription.