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 2011, there are 204 NOCs, representing both sovereign nations and other geographical areas. 192 of the 193 member states of the United Nations have IOC-recognized National Olympic Committees (the exception being South Sudan, which gained its independence on 9 July 2011, and does not yet have a National Olympic Committee), as do 12 other territories:
- Taiwan designated as Chinese Taipei by the IOC
- Four territories of the United States: American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and United States Virgin Islands (designated just Virgin Islands by the IOC)
- Three British Overseas Territories: Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, and Cayman Islands
- One territory from the Kingdom of the Netherlands in the Caribbean: Aruba. The Netherlands Antilles lost its status in July 2011 as a result of the dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles in 2010.
- Hong Kong, a special administrative region of the People's Republic of China
- Cook Islands, an associated state of New Zealand
Prior to 1996, rules for recognising separate countries at the IOC were not as strict as those for the United Nations, which allowed several dependent territories, such as Bermuda, Puerto Rico and Hong Kong to field teams separately from their parent nation. Following an amendment to the Olympic Charter in 1996, NOC recognition can only be granted after recognition as an independent country by the UN. As such, dependent territories such as Gibraltar, Macau and the Faroe Islands cannot be recognised by the IOC, and athletes from those territories can only participate in the Olympics as part of their parent nation's national team. However, the rule does not apply retroactively, so dependent territories which were recognised before the rule change are allowed to continue sending separate teams to the Olympics.
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||53||Egypt (1910)||Eritrea (1999)|
|Pan American Sports Organization||41||United States (1894)||Dominica (1993)
Saint Kitts and Nevis (1993)
Saint Lucia (1993)
|Olympic Council of Asia||44||Japan (1912)||Timor-Leste (2003)|
|European Olympic Committees||49||France (1894)||Montenegro (2007)|
|Oceania National Olympic Committees||17||Australia (1895)||Tuvalu (2007)|
See the article for each continental association for the complete lists of all NOCs.
List of NOCs by recognition date 
Below is a chronological list of the 204 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).
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. The Faroe Islands have a recognised National Paralympic Committee.
Other existing countries/regions with unrecognized Olympic committees: Catalonia, Gibraltar, French Polynesia, Niue, Kosovo (see Olympic Committee of Kosovo), Somaliland, New Caledonia, Kurdistan, Northern Cyprus, Abkhazia, Native Americans, the Northern Mariana Islands, Anguilla, Montserrat, and Turks & Caicos Islands.
See also 
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: National Olympic Committees|
- "National Olympic Committees". International Olympic Committee. Retrieved 21 January 2008.
- Association of National Olympic Committees website
- http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/othersports/olympics/8632832/London-2012-Olympics-South-Sudan-can-compete-at-Games.html London 2012 Olympics: South Sudan 'can compete at Games'] The Telegraph, 12 July 2011</
- "Executive Board concludes first meeting of the new year". olympic.org ("Official website of the Olympic movement"). 13 January 2011. Retrieved 13 January 2011.
- "Curtain comes down on 123rd IOC Session". Unknown parameter
- The OCA includes 45 NOCs; the Macau Sports and Olympic Committee is not recognized by the IOC and Macau does not compete at the Olympic Games.
- The Olympic Committee of Serbia
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- Freedom for Catalonia?: Catalan Nationalism, Spanish Identity and the Barcelona Olympic Games (Cambridge Cultural Social Sciences) (9780521586153): John Hargreaves: Books. Amazon.com. Retrieved on 24 October 2009.
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- Article: Miss Tahiti 2003 stripped of her title. | AccessMyLibrary - Promoting library advocacy. AccessMyLibrary (2005-06-03). Retrieved on 24 October 2009.
- SportingPulse Homepage for Niue Island Sports Association and National Olympic Committee. Sportingpulse.com. Retrieved on 24 October 2009.
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- "Native Americans seek recognition". Nativevoices.org. 27 February 2006. Retrieved 16 August 2010.
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- "CANOC Members". canoc.net. Retrieved 16 August 2010.