Well into a long, demonstration-free parade of nations, the United States emerged with a large part of their 600 strong participating. The U.S. team earned a solid roar that sounded at least partly positive.
President Bush and the First Lady stood from their seats amid various heads of state, waving tiny American flags as the U.S. Olympians, wearing navy jackets, white caps and white pants, filed around the stadium.
Basketball star Kobe Bryant and track speedster Tyson Gay were among the dozens who strolled in behind the U.S. flag bearer, Sudanese refugee Lopez Lomong.
Bush received a loud -- but not obviously negative -- response when he first appeared on the large screen in the National Stadium, but he drew virtually no reaction on his second and third appearances on the screen.
The Chinese fans and international visitors offered few cheers for the majority of the 204 nations, a reality that seemed more in response to the stifling humidity and length of the parade than any intention to snub.
Iraq, whose athletes nearly weren't able to compete here because of a rift between the nation's national governing body and the IOC, got a strong shot of cheers. The large French delegation drew pleasant applause despite the consideration by some French athletes of engaging in some sort of political statement that would signify their distaste with China's record on human rights. In fact, the French did not make any statement at all. They simply smiled and waved. China will be the last nation to enter the stadium.
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