National Olympic Committee
A National Olympic Committee (NOC) is a national constituent of the worldwide Olympic movement. Subject to the controls of the International Olympic Committee, NOCs are responsible for organizing their people's participation in the Olympic Games. They may nominate cities within their respective areas as candidates for future Olympic Games. NOCs also promote the development of athletes and training of coaches and officials at a national level within their geographies.
National Olympic Committees
As of 2019, there are 206 National Olympic Committees. These include each of the 193 member states of the United Nations, one UN observer state, Palestine, and two states with limited recognition, Kosovo and Taiwan (designated as Chinese Taipei by the IOC).
There are also ten dependent territories with NOCs:
- Four territories of the United States: American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the United States Virgin Islands.
- Three British Overseas Territories: Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands, and Cayman Islands.
- One constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands: Aruba.
- One associated state of New Zealand, the Cook Islands,
- One special administrative region of China: Hong Kong.
Prior to 1996, rules for recognising separate countries within the IOC were not as strict as those within the United Nations, which allowed these territories to field teams separately from their sovereign state. Following an amendment to the Olympic Charter in 1996, NOC recognition can only be granted after recognition as an independent state by the international community. Since the rule does not apply retroactively, the dependent territories which were recognised before the rule change are allowed to continue sending separate teams to the Olympics, while the Faroe Islands and Macau send their own Paralympic teams.
The only state which thus qualifies to participate in the future is the Vatican City, a UN observer state. Other disputed states face obstacles to being recognized by the IOC. Dependent territories such as Curaçao, the Faroe Islands, Gibraltar, Macau, New Caledonia and Niue can no longer be recognised, so athletes from those territories can only participate in the Olympics as part of their parent nation's national team. This rule also applies to dependent territories experiencing a change in status- the Netherlands Antilles Olympic Committee was dissolved at the 123rd IOC session in July 2011 as the Netherlands Antilles ceased to exist on 10 October 2010.
This section lists the current:
- 206 National Olympic Committees who are recognised by the International Olympic Committee, and so are members of the Association of National Olympic Committees.
- 8 National Olympic Committees who are recognised by their continental Olympic Associations, but are not recognised by the International Olympic Committee. (Italics)
ANOC members are eligible to enter the Olympic Games,
Some National Olympic Committees who are members of a continental Olympic Association but not ANOC members compete in continental-level and subregional tournaments. These committees, however, are not allowed to participate in the Olympic Games.
The five continental associations are:
- Africa – Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA)
- America – Pan American Sports Organization (PASO)
- Asia – Olympic Council of Asia (OCA)
- Europe – European Olympic Committees (EOC)
- Oceania – Oceania National Olympic Committees (ONOC)
- ANOCA - African Games
- PASO - Pan American Games, Pan American Winter Games
- OCA - Asian Games, Asian Winter Games
- EOC - European Games
- ONOC - Pacific Games
While not a continental union in itself, the Union of Arab National Olympic Committees (UANOC) organises multi-sport events between Arabic-speaking countries. All 22 national governing bodies that form UANOC are also members of both AOC and are eligible to send athletes to either the African or Asian Games. National Olympic Committees from UANOC member countries are noted in the list below.
1: National Olympic Committee is a member of UANOC
1: National Olympic Committee is a member of UANOC
2: National Olympic Committee is a member of OCA but not an ANOC member
3: Official name used by IOC, ANOC and OCA for Republic of China (Taiwan)
1: Israel was a member of OCA but left in 1981, it joined the EOC in 1994
1: National Olympic Committee is an associate member of ONOC but not an ANOC member
List of NOCs by recognition date
Below is a chronological list of the 206 NOCs recognized by the International Olympic Committee, since its foundation in 1894. Many of these committees were founded many years before their official recognition, while others were immediately accepted after being founded.
Only extant states are listed. Former states (e.g. The Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia, Netherlands Antilles, etc.), are not listed, only the current states derived from them: for example, the Czech Olympic Committee representing Bohemia was created and recognized in 1899. It was later transformed into the Czechoslovak Olympic Committee, and, after the dissolution of Czechoslovakia, was re-recognized in 1993.
- Latvia's NOC was recognized by the IOC in 1923, while Estonia's and Lithuania's NOCs were recognized in 1924. However, following the Soviet occupation of the Baltic states their NOCs were disbanded. When they regained their independence their NOCs were re-recognized in 1991.
- Tanzania's IOC dates back to 1958 upon the recognition of Tanganyika. Tanganyika and Zanzibar united on 26 April 1964, to form Tanzania, but the new country was permitted to participate at the 1964 Summer Olympics under Tanganyika's IOC. Tanzania was recognized as the successor of Tanganyika's IOC in 1968.
- South Africa participated in the Olympics since 1904 - even before it became a unified country - its membership was suspended in 1962 and reinstated in 1991 with the abolition of apartheid.
The NOCs are all members of the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC), which is also split among five continental associations:
|Continent||Association||NOCs||Oldest NOC||Newest NOC|
|Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa||54|
|Pan American Sports Organization||41|
|Olympic Council of Asia||44|
|European Olympic Committees||50|
|Oceania National Olympic Committees||17|
See the article for each continental association for the complete lists of all NOCs.
Unrecognized National Olympic Committees
The Macau Sports and Olympic Committee was founded in 1987 and has attempted to enroll to the IOC since its foundation, but is still not officially recognized and thus no athlete has participated in the Olympic Games under the name "Macau, China". It has, however, participated in the Paralympic Games.
Other existing countries/regions with unrecognized Olympic committees: Catalonia, Gibraltar, French Polynesia, Niue, Somaliland, New Caledonia, Kurdistan, Northern Cyprus, Abkhazia, Native Americans, the Northern Mariana Islands, Anguilla, Montserrat, and Turks & Caicos Islands.
In 2016, the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces announced the creation of the Syrian Olympic Committee.
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