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British Olympic Association

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British Olympic Association
British Olympic Association logo
Country/Region United Kingdom
HeadquartersLondon, United Kingdom
PresidentHRH The Princess Royal
NotesAlso includes the following territories and dependencies:

 Isle of Man
 Falkland Islands
 Pitcairn Islands
 Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha

 Turks and Caicos Islands

The British Olympic Association (BOA) is the National Olympic Committee for the United Kingdom. However it is almost unique in that its teams also incorporate representatives from other British dependent territories, who do not have their own separate Olympics teams, but which also excludes some UK citizens from Northern Ireland due to internal governing body territories in sports such as rugby, tennis and field hockey. Founded in 1905, it is responsible for organising and overseeing the participation of athletes from the Great Britain and Northern Ireland Olympic Team, at both the summer and winter Olympic Games, the Youth Olympic Games, the European Youth Olympic Festivals, and at the European Games.

BOA members and sporting bodies[edit]

The British Olympic Association – of the United Kingdom comprising its constituent countries, the Crown Dependencies and British Overseas Territories which do not have their own NOC – competes at all summer, winter and youth Olympics as United Kingdom Great Britain ("Team GB").


The association comprises members from the following countries:

Note – Northern Irish athletes can choose whether to compete for Great Britain and Northern Ireland or for the Republic of Ireland, as they are entitled to citizenship of either nation under the Good Friday Agreement. However in a number of sports, including hockey, tennis and rugby sevens, Northern Irish athletes are de facto disbarred from representing the UK because the designated federation only selects from those players who are from the island of Great Britain.

Crown Dependencies:

British Overseas Territories:

Note – IOC rules currently do not allow dependent territories to obtain recognition for National Olympic Committees (NOCs). Three British Overseas Territories have their own NOCs predating this rule and are therefore not connected with the BOA: Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands and the Cayman Islands. While the territories of British Antarctic Territory, British Indian Ocean Territory and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands are nominally represented by the BOA, these territories have no permanent population and do not send athletes.

Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories athletes for Team GB[edit]

Among Crown Dependencies and current-day Overseas Territories, only a few have been represented on Team GB since 1930 (The year of the first Commonwealth Games) while retaining citizenship of, and (if the sport is held) Commonwealth Games eligibility for their territories. These include:

Some more have participated in Team GB after switching eligibility mid-career from their territories to England before the Olympic Games, including:

  • Shara Proctor (represented Anguilla until 2011, entered the Olympic Games in 2016)
  • Delano Williams (represented Turks and Caicos Islands until 2012, entered the Olympic Games in 2016)

British sports bodies associated with the BOA[edit]


The BOA is one of 206 National Committees (NOCs) currently recognised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The IOC leads the promotion of Olympism in accordance with the Olympic Charter.

Working with the national governing bodies of each sport, the BOA selects Team GB's members to compete in all sports at the summer and winter Olympics. The BOA is independent and receives no funding from the government. Its income comes from fundraising and events.

Great Britain & Northern Ireland is one of only five National Olympic Committees (the others being Australia, France, Greece and Switzerland) which have never failed to be represented at the Summer Olympic Games since 1896. Of these countries GB&NI, France and Switzerland are the only countries to have been present at all Olympic Winter Games; thus Great Britain & Northern Ireland is one of three countries that have competed at all Olympic Games. Great Britain is also the only team in the Olympic Games to have won a gold in every Summer games. The United Kingdom has hosted three Olympic Games, all of them in London: in 1908, 1948 and 2012.


At its formation in 1905 the association consisted of seven national governing body members from the following sports: fencing, life-saving, cycling, skating, rowing, athletics, rugby football, association football, and archery. It now includes as its members the thirty-three national governing bodies of each Olympic sport, both summer and winter.

A representative of each of the Olympic sports makes up the NOC, the BOA's decision and policy-making body. The NOC elects three officers: a President, a Chairman, and a Vice-Chairman, each for a four-year term. Six members of the NOC are elected to the Board, which oversees the work of the BOA and puts forward proposals for decision by the NOC. The present (2022) chief office holders are:

Former Chairmen[edit]


The BOA's origins pre-date the International Olympic movement and its governing body, the International Olympic Committee.

It traces its roots back to the National Olympian Association (NOA), which held its inaugural meeting at the Liverpool Gymnasium, Myrtle Street, Liverpool in November 1865. It promoted an annual series of sporting events across Britain, with the aim of encouraging participation in physical education through Olympian festivals. The NOA came about mainly through the efforts of John Hulley of Liverpool (Chairman), Dr William Penny Brookes (of Much Wenlock) and E G Ravenstein (president of the German Gymnastic Society of London).[3] It took the existing Olympian Games of Much Wenlock as its example, thus the NOA Games "were open to all comers" and not just the products of Britain's public schools.

After the NOA closed in 1883 its motto ('Civium virtus civitatis tutamen' meaning 'the power of the citizens is the defence of the state') and ethos were inherited by the National Physical Recreation Society (NPRS) which was founded in 1885. From 1902 the President and Treasurer of the NPRS were members of the Olympic "Comité Britannique" and the NPRS was a founding body of the British Olympic Association in 1905.[4]


Coat of arms of British Olympic Association
27 April 2016
On a Helm with a Wreath Argent, Gules and Azure: Within a Coronet comprising a Rim set with six Batons erect Or between Roundels alternately of Silver Gold and Bronze proper a Lion statant guardant Gules crowned with a Laurel Wreath the dexter forepaw raised and holding a Torch enflamed Or.
Quarterly Gules and Azure two Leeks in pale that in base reversed and conjoined at the fess point to two Thistles in fess two Roses in bend and two Flax Flowers in bend sinister all with heads outwards and slipped and leaved Or the whole enfiling four Links of Chain interlaced in a square Argent.
On either side a Lion guardant that on the dexter Azure that on the sinister Gules each crowned with a Laurel Wreath and holding in the exterior forepaw a Torch enflamed Or both upon a Compartment comprising a Grassy Mount Vert.

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Llewellyn, Matthew P (2012). Rule Britannia: Nationalism, Identity and the Modern Olympic Games. Routledge. ISBN 9780415663908


  1. ^ "Sir Hugh Robertson Elected As Chairman Of The British Olympic Association". British Olympic Association. 24 November 2016. Retrieved 24 February 2017.
  2. ^ "Annamarie Phelps CBE has become Vice-Chair of the British Olympic Association". British Olympic Association. 23 February 2017. Retrieved 24 February 2017.
  3. ^ The Liverpool Mercury, 7 November 1865
  4. ^ National Olympian Association, The John Hulley Memorial Fund
  5. ^ "'The Team GB coat of arms'". Archived from the original on 19 July 2022. Retrieved 28 October 2022.

External links[edit]