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 2014, there are 205 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. Palestine is the only United Nations observer state that has a NOC. The only states that have an NOC but are not a member or observer state of the United Nations are the Cook Islands, Kosovo and Taiwan designated as Chinese Taipei by the IOC.
In addition to the 196 sovereign states competing, there are 9 other territories with their own NOC:
- 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 China
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 international community. The only states that have been recognized by the United Nations which could participate in the future are South Sudan, the Vatican City and Niue. Other states with limited recognition would face obstacles to being recognized by the IOC. On 22 October 2014, the IOC executive board gave provisional recognition to Kosovo and then granted it full recognition at the IOC general assembly in 9 December 2014.  Dependent territories such as Curaçao, the Faroe Islands, Gibraltar, and Macau 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. Also, the Faroe Islands and Macau have their own Paralympic teams.
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||50||France (1894)||Kosovo (2014)|
|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 205 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.
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, Somaliland, New Caledonia, Kurdistan, Northern Cyprus, Abkhazia, Native Americans, the Northern Mariana Islands, Anguilla, Montserrat, and Turks & Caicos Islands. South Ossetia intends to establish a National Olympic Committee too. Representatives from the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic would take part in Armenia’s National Olympic Committee.
|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
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- "Overseas Territories (3rd February 2012)". Publications.parliament.uk. Retrieved 2014-01-23.
-  IOC gives provisional recognition to Kosovo
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- 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.
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