Comité Olímpico de Panamá sent the nation's smallest delegation to the Games since the 1952 Summer Olympics in Helsinki. A total of four athletes, three men and one woman, competed only in athletics and swimming. Freestyle swimmer, Pan American Games medalist, and three-time Olympian Eileen Coparropa reprised her role to carry the Panamanian flag in the opening ceremony for the third consecutive time since her debut, as a fifteen-year-old, in 1996.
Panama has yet to claim its first Olympic medal after the 1948 Summer Olympics in London. Track star Bayano Kamani narrowly missed out the medal podium after earning a highest result for the Panamanian team in the men's 400 m hurdles with an astonishing fifth-place finish.