Which countries can participate in the Olympics?


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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Summer Olympics Participating Countries


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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The Olympics has now become the most popular international multi-sport event in human history, but how and why has this happened? There is no single definitive reason for this, but there are a number of different factors that have influenced the popularity of the Games. The Olympics history harkens back to the days of classical Western civilization, as an event from the bygone past of human history. There is also the history the modern day version of the Olympics brings up with classic moments, controversial events and athletes and athletic feats that will always be remembered. The Olympics also brings a sense of nationalism and national pride in rooting for the athletes representing your country.

Starting with the post-World War II years, the Olympics has also gained full global prominence due to the rise of the standard of living globally, which has helped most of the world to experience global communication technologies like radio, television and the internet. This...

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This is an updated version of an article first published in 2012. You can also read the London 2012 and Sochi 2014 versions.

The 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil officially open tonight, Friday, August 5th! They'll be the first Olympics ever to be held in

South America

, and also the first in any

Portuguese-speaking country

. If that wasn't enough, they're also the first Summer Olympics to be held entirely

in the winter


Of course, it wouldn't be an Olympic opening ceremony without the Parade of Nations. But how many countries are there in the games, and is everyone included? Read on for an exclusive updated guide to the roster of Olympic Nations...

How many countries are in the Olympics?

There are currently

206 recognized Olympic Nations

, represented by a National Olympic Committee (NOC) in each country. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) presides over the Olympic Games themselves, and the NOCs are divided...

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Update: This article has been picked up by the Washington Post, Business Insider, eWeek and InfoWorld.

Which countries have the best programmers in the world?

Many would assume it’s the United States. After all, the United States is the home of programming luminaries such as Bill Gates, Ken Thompson, Dennis Ritchie, and Donald Knuth. But then again, India is known as the fastest growing concentration of programmers in the world and the hackers from Russia are apparently pretty effective. Is there any way to determine which country is best?

We decided to examine our data to answer this question: which countries do the best at programming challenges on HackerRank?

At HackerRank, we regularly post tens of thousands of new coding challenges for developers to improve their coding skills. Hundreds of thousands of developers from all over the world come to participate in challenges in a variety of languages and knowledge domains, from Python to...

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EDMOND — Chris Paynter has competed for 30 years in sports events across the United States and overseas. In a few weeks, he'll represent the U.S. as he goes for the gold in what he described as his favorite place in the world.

“I did love Ireland, but now I get to go to my favorite, Austria. 'The Sound of Music' was filmed there, and I'd love to see the house, the abbey, the church where they got married in. I'd like to see that,” Paynter, 41, said of his upcoming trip to the 2017 Special Olympics World Winter Games.

Paynter has Down syndrome, and his mother, Ellen Paynter, said her goal in exposing him to sports was to keep him healthy and physically fit. The love of competition just blossomed naturally.

“We were determined when Chris was born that he would be healthy, and it all started, the gym, it all started to keep him healthy … and it just went from there. He loved being in the gym area, and he loved the coaches and they really started doing stuff and...

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Updated Version: Rio 2016: Which Countries Are (and Aren't) in the Olympics?

[This article was first published in July 2012 as "Parade of Nations: Which Countries Are (and Aren't) in the Olympics?", in connection with that year's Summer Olympics in London. The following article is an updated version for the 2014 Sochi Winter games.]

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The 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia officially begin tonight (Feb. 7), and it wouldn't be an Olympic opening ceremony without the Parade of Nations. But how many countries are there in the games, and is everyone included? Read on for an exclusive guide to the roster of Olympic Nations....

How many countries participate in the Olympics?
There are currently 204 recognized Olympic Nations, represented by a National Olympic Committee (NOC) in each country. The games are presided over by the International Olympic Committee...

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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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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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Flagbearers for each of the participating nations at the I Olympic Winter Games (1924) recite the athlete's oath.

This is a list of nations, as represented by National Olympic Committees (NOCs), that have participated in the Winter Olympic Games between 1924 and 2014. The Winter Olympic Games have been held every four years (once during each Olympiad) since 1924, except for the cancelled Games of 1940 and 1944, and in 1994 when the Winter Games were moved to the middle of the Olympiad, two years after the previous Games. 119 NOCs (110 of the current 206 NOCs and 9 obsolete NOCs) have participated in at least one Winter Games, and twelve nations (Austria, Canada, Finland, France, Great Britain, Hungary, Italy, Norway, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United States) have participated in all twenty-two Winter Games to date. Including continuity from Czechoslovakia, the Czech Republic and Slovakia have also been represented in every edition.


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There is a certain pride in hosting the Winter Olympics and this year the Winter Olympics will be held at Sochi, a city on the Black Sea coast in Russia.

The Winter Olympics are scheduled to be held from 6th February to 23rd February, 2014. This event brings about 2,500+ athletes under one umbrella. Athletes compete in fourteen different sports event that include Alpine Skiing, Biathlon, Cross-country skiing, Curling, Figure Skating, Free Style Skating, Ice Hockey, Nordic Combined, Short track speed skating, Luge, Skeleton, Sky jumping, Snowboarding, and Speed Skating.

Athletes from Colombia, Ethiopia, Ghana, North Korea, Senegal, and South Africa participated in the 2010 games. However, they will not be participating in 2014 Winter Olympics. Indian athletes would be participating independently under the Olympic Flag due to a ban imposed on India.

Zimbabwe, Virgin-Islands, Toga, Tongo, Timor-Leste, Thailand, Phillipines, Paraguay, Malta and British...

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