Southern Rhodesia first participated as Rhodesia in the Olympic Games in 1928. Rhodesia was then absent until 1960 when the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland competed under the name of Rhodesia in Rome. Southern Rhodesia then competed alone under the banner of Rhodesia once again and for the last time in 1964. The country thus always competed as a British territory. It was unable to take part in the 1968 Games in Mexico, due to the Mexican government's interpretation of regulations on passports. It never successfully competed following Ian Smith's declaration of an independent Rhodesian republic in 1970. Although it returned to the Games in 1972, Rhodesia was expelled by the International Olympic Committee four days before the opening ceremony, under pressure from other African countries, which did not recognise the legitimacy of the Rhodesian state and which were threatening a boycott. The invitation which had been extended to Rhodesia was withdrawn by the IOC, by 36 votes to 31 with three abstentions. The country's successor state, Zimbabwe, made its Olympic début in 1980.
Rhodesia never took part in the Winter Olympics, and no Rhodesian competitor ever won an Olympic medal.