If you pay very close attention while watching tomorrow's 2016 Opening Ceremony in Rio, you might notice that Team USA does one thing a little differently than the rest of the competing countries — and it's kind of controversial.
At every Opening Ceremony, all national teams march in, with each group of athletes following one team member who holds the country's flag. While other countries will dip their flag as a sign of respect while passing the host country's governing officials, .
The tradition is an awkward one, but it's also long-standing. Team USA first opted to ignore the Olympics host country during the 1908 Opening Ceremony in London, when flag holder and shotputter Ralph Rose refused to make the dip. Many people believe that the Irish-American athlete kept the flag standing tall as a symbol of U.S. nationalism, but that his actions might have been caused by a strong distaste for the British, as Irish-American athletes were not thrilled to be competing on Britain's soil that year.
Team USA waffled between dipping and not dipping for the next few Olympic Games. But in 1936, the United States Olympic Committee — which nearly decided to forego the Berlin Summer Olympics altogether — formally announced that it would refuse to dip its flag to Adolf Hitler.
Now, that all makes sense, but why are we still refusing to dip the American flag so many years later? Well, because the move just kind of stuck ... and in the 1940s, a ban against dipping the flag was officially added to the . As Mental Floss noted in its explainer, we're basically just continuing to snub Hitler 80 years later.
So there you have it.