How can a country be eligible to participate in any sport in the Olympics?

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In order for a country to send a team to the Olympics, the country needs a National Olympic Committee (NOC) that is recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). There are over 200 recognized NOCs, and Wikipedia has a list of all the recognized NOCs, sorted by the date the NOCs formed.

Under the current IOC rules, which were changed in 1996, new NOCs will only be recognized from nations that are recognized as an independent country by the United Nations. However, before 1996, the IOC allowed NOCs from countries that were dependent territories of other nations, and these NOCs are allowed to continue. Therefore, in the Olympics, you will see athletes from countries like Bermuda, Puerto Rico, and Hong Kong, which are all territories of other nations. Currently, there are only two UN recognized countries that do not yet have NOCs: Vatican City and Niue.

There are unofficial NOCs that are not recognized by the IOC from various territories and groups of people,...

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Below is a list of all the countries that are currently recognized by the International Olympic Committee as National Olympic Committees.

Five countries have been represented at all Summer Olympic Games – Greece, Great Britain, France, Switzerland, and Australia, though not always as part of official teams. Switzerland is on this list even though they boycotted the 1956 Olympics - they had competed in the equestrian events several months earlier in Stockholm. France did not send a team to the 1904 Games but a lone Frenchman did compete for the USA and a mixed team. Also in 1896 Great Britain competed as part of the 'United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland', while Australia participated in 1908 and 1912 as part of a combined Australasia team with New Zealand. Therefore, out of these five nations only Greece has participated under its own flag in all modern summer Olympic Games.

On the other hand, Vatican City is one sovereign state never to have competed in an...

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Summer Olympics Participating Countries

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Paralympics Participating Countries

Following claims that Russia operates a state-sponsored doping program, the nation’s track-and-field athletes were initially banned from the upcoming Rio 2016 Olympic Games. The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) had ruled out the possibility of overturning the suspension of Russia, and a few Russian athletes had been offered the leverage of competing as neutrals at the 2016 Rio Games. After having found evidence of Russian urine samples “altered” across multiple summer and winter Olympic sports from 2011 to August 2015, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) had imposed a ban on all Russian competitors for the Rio Games 2016. Later, the IOC declined to issue a comprehensive ban on Russian athletes. The Committee had deferred decisions on the eligibility of Russian athletes to the international federations (IFs) which are responsible for governing each sport that would be featured in...

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Olympic sports are sports contested in the Summer and Winter Olympic Games. The 2016 Summer Olympics included 28 sports, with five additional sports due to be added to the 2020 Summer Olympics. The 2014 Winter Olympics included seven sports.[1] The number and kinds of events may change slightly from one Olympiad to another. Each Olympic sport is represented by an international governing body, namely an International Federation (IF).[2] The International Olympic Committee (IOC) establishes a hierarchy of sports, disciplines, and events.[2] According to this hierarchy, the Olympic sports can be subdivided into multiple disciplines, which are often assumed to be distinct sports. Examples include swimming and water polo (disciplines of aquatics, represented by the International Swimming Federation),[3] or figure skating and speed skating (disciplines of skating, represented by the International Skating Union).[4] In their turn, disciplines can be subdivided into events, for which...

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Three Parts:Setting OutGetting SeriousGoing for a MedalCommunity Q&A

If you want to become an Olympian, you've got to be fairly trained and in good shape. It's a long, arduous path, but it will be worth it when you stand on the international stage. To become an Olympian, you'll need to do plenty of long-term, professional level training in a specific Olympic sport. Don't neglect other aspects of your life, but be prepared to put in long hours of practice and competition, work hard at financing your dreams, and commit to a remarkably healthy lifestyle. If you're ready to commit most of the next few years to a sport, you're already starting with the right...

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Chapter 5, Part II of the Olympic Charter covers the rules regarding participation in the Olympic Games. The actual details of the requirements for qualifying for the Olympics varies by sport, but the Charter discusses the general procedure.

Each country in the Olympics has their own National Olympic Committee (NOC) that is responsible for assembling the team from their country.

Each sport in the Olympics is governed by an International Federation (IF) that is recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as governing that particular sport. For example, athletics (track and field) is governed by the International Association of Athletics Federations. The IF typically has affiliated National Federations (NF) in each country. These federations hold national and international competitions apart from the Olympics. The NF makes recommendations to the NOC as to who should represent their country in the Olympics.

The NOC then approves or disapproves of the...

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Rule 41 Nationality of Competitors*

1. Any competitor in the Olympic Games must be a national of the country of the NOC which is entering such competitor.

2. All matters relating to the determination of the country which a competitor may represent in the Olympic Games shall be resolved by the IOC Executive Board.

Bye-law to Rule 41

1. A competitor who is a national of two or more countries at the same time may represent either one of them, as he may elect. However, after having represented one country in the Olympic Games, in continental or regional games or in world or regional championships recognised by the relevant IF, he may not represent another country unless he meets the conditions set forth in paragraph 2 below that apply to persons who have changed their nationality or acquired a new nationality.

2. A competitor who has represented one country in the Olympic Games, in continental
or regional games or in world or regional championships...

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No you don't have to be born in the country in order to be eligible - What allows JR Holden to play for Russia is 2 factors.

#1- He was granted Russian citizenship (By order of President Putin)
#2- J.R. Holden never played for USA basketball which makes him eligible to play for Russia.

Basketball eligibility in the case of Basketball is under FIBA rules when it comes to the Olympics. Other Olympic sports have rules based on their respective sports federation.

For example Greece was able to field a baseball team at the 2004 Olympics made up of players from USA and Canada such as Nick Markakis (Baltimore Orioles) who where playing minor league baseball at the time. They all had at least parents or grandparents who where born in Greece. Every nation of course has their own laws on how to become a citizen.

You may recall Tim Duncan (U.S. Virgin Islands) played for the USA 2004 Athens Olympics thus making him not eligible to play for the U.S. Virgin...

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The short answer, is no.

The more full answer is ‘not really’, but you mostly have to represent a body of some sort whether that’s a country, a territory with its own NOC or another body created by the IOC (e.g. the Unified Team or the Refugee Olympic team).

There are ‘independent athletes’ that have competed when political situations beyond the control of the IOC have intervened (the break-up of Yugoslavia and the dissolution of the Netherland Antilles for example) but this is very rare and under the control of the IOC. It’s not a choice an athlete can simply make.

The long answer, with all the gory details, is below…

The ‘Let’s Look At It From A Whole Load of Angles’ Answer

Not only do you not need to represent a country when you participate at the Olympics Games, on some at least, you never do.

When you compete for glory at the Olympics, you are doing so under the banner of your National Olympic Committee. This NOC, of course, represents...

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Article 2: Special Olympics Athletes

August 17, 2015

Article 2 provides that every person with an intellectual disability who is at least eight years of age is eligible to participate in Special Olympics, and that there is no maximum age limit for participation. It also highlights the Young Athletes program which introduces children from two to seven years old to the world of sport with the goal of preparing them for Special Olympics sports training and competition when they get older.

Participation in Special Olympics is open to all persons with intellectual disabilities who meet the age requirements of this Article, whether or not that person also has other mental or physical disabilities, so long as that person registers to participate.

The use of athletes’ names and likenesses is also covered in this Article, which sets out a requirement for separate consents when an athlete’s name or likeness will be used for the marketing or sale of...

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Transgender athletes should be allowed to compete in the Olympics and other international events without undergoing sex reassignment surgery, according to new guidelines adopted by the IOC.

International Olympic Committee medical officials said on Sunday they changed the policy to adapt to current scientific, social and legal attitudes on transgender issues.

The guidelines are designed as recommendations – not rules or regulations – for international sports federations and other bodies to follow and should apply for this year’s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

“I don’t think many federations have rules on defining eligibility of transgender individuals,” IOC medical director Dr Richard Budgett said. “This should give them the confidence and stimulus to put these rules in place.”

Under the previous IOC guidelines, approved in 2003, athletes who transitioned from male to female or vice versa were required to have reassignment surgery followed by at least two...

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Eunice Mary Kennedy (1921-2009) was born in Brookline, Mass., USA, the fifth of nine children of Joseph P. and Rose Kennedy. After graduating from college, she worked for the U.S. State Departmentin Washington, D.C., and later became a social worker at the Penitentiary for Women in Alderson, West Va. She later moved to Chicao, Ill., where she worked with the House of the Good Shepherd and the Chicago Juvenile Court.

Starting in the 1950s, Eunice Kennedy Shriver pushed for research and programs that would benefit people with intellectual disabilities. She was the driving force behind President John F. Kennedy's White House panel on people with intellectual disabilities. For this neglected population, Shriver said, "the years of indifference and neglect, the years of callous cynicsm and entrenched prejudice are drawing to a close. The years of research and experiment...are upon us now with all their promise and challenge."

She continued this pioneering work as director...

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