A National Olympic Committee (NOC) is a national constituent of the worldwide Olympic movement. Subject to the controls of the International Olympic Committee, NOCs are responsible for organizing their people's participation in the Olympic Games. They may nominate cities within their respective areas as candidates for future Olympic Games. NOCs also promote the development of athletes and training of coaches and officials at a national level within their geographies.
National Olympic Committees
As of 2020, there are 206 National Olympic Committees. These include each of the 193 member states of the United Nations, one UN observer state (Palestine), one UN non-member state in free association with New Zealand (the Cook Islands) and two states with limited recognition (Kosovo and Taiwan).
There are also nine dependent territories with recognized NOCs: four territories of the United States (American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the United States Virgin Islands), three British Overseas Territories (Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands, and the Cayman Islands), one constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands (Aruba) and one special administrative region of China (Hong Kong).
Prior to 1996, rules for recognising dependent territories or constituent countries as separate countries within the IOC were not as strict as those within the United Nations, which allowed these territories to field teams separately from their sovereign state. Following an amendment to the Olympic Charter in 1996, NOC recognition can only be granted after recognition as an independent country by the international community. Since the rule does not apply retroactively, the dependent territories and constituent countries which were recognised before the rule change are allowed to continue sending separate teams to the Olympics, while the Faroe Islands and Macau send their own Paralympic teams.
The only states which thus qualify to participate in the future are the Vatican City, a UN observer state, and Niue, a UN non-member state in free association with New Zealand. Currently, all other remaining states are ineligible to join the IOC as they are not recognised by a majority of the United Nations member countries. Constituent countries and dependent territories such as Curaçao, the Faroe Islands, Gibraltar, Macau and New Caledonia can also no longer be recognised, so athletes from these territories can only participate in the Olympics as part of their parent nation's national team. This rule also applies to territories experiencing a change in status – the Netherlands Antilles Olympic Committee was dissolved at the 123rd IOC session in July 2011 as the Netherlands Antilles ceased to exist in 2010.
For those countries and territories that are part of the Commonwealth of Nations, their National Olympic Committees also serve as the members of the Commonwealth Games Association. They are responsible for organising and overseeing their national teams at the Commonwealth Games.
This section lists the current:
- 206 National Olympic Committees who are recognised by the International Olympic Committee, and so are the members of the Association of National Olympic Committees.
- 8 National Olympic Committees who are recognised by their continental Olympic associations, but are not recognised by the International Olympic Committee (Italics).
The ANOC members are eligible to enter the Olympic Games. Some National Olympic Committees who are members of a continental Olympic association but not ANOC members compete in continental-level and subregional-level tournaments. These committees, however, are not allowed to participate in the Olympic Games.
The five continental Olympic associations are:
- Africa – Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA)
- America – Pan American Sports Organization (PASO)
- Asia – Olympic Council of Asia (OCA)
- Europe – European Olympic Committees (EOC)
- Oceania – Oceania National Olympic Committees (ONOC)
- ANOCA – African Games
- PASO – Pan American Games and Pan American Winter Games
- OCA – Asian Games and Asian Winter Games
- EOC – European Games
- ONOC – Pacific Games
While not a continental union in itself, the Union of Arab National Olympic Committees (UANOC) organises multi-sport events between Arabic-speaking countries. All 22 National Olympic Committees that form the UANOC are also members of either the ANOCA or the OCA and are eligible to send their athletes to either the African or Asian Games. National Olympic Committees from the UANOC member countries are noted in the list below.
1: National Olympic Committee is a member of the UANOC.
1: National Olympic Committee is a member of the UANOC.
2: National Olympic Committee is a member of the OCA but not an ANOC member.
3: Official name used by the IOC, ANOC and OCA for the Republic of China (Taiwan).
1: Israel was a member of the OCA, but left the organisation in 1981. It joined the EOC in 1994.
1: National Olympic Committee is an associate member of the ONOC but not an ANOC member.
List of NOCs by recognition date
Below is a chronological list of the 206 NOCs recognized by the International Olympic Committee, since its foundation in 1894. Many of these committees were founded many years before their official recognition, while others were immediately accepted after being founded.
Only extant states are listed. Also, the states that have changed their name at some point are listed under their current names. Former states (e.g. the Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia, and the Netherlands Antilles etc.), are not listed, only the current states derived from them: for example, the Czech Olympic Committee representing Bohemia was created and recognized in 1899. It was later transformed into the Czechoslovak Olympic Committee, and, after the dissolution of Czechoslovakia, was re-recognized in 1993.
- Latvia's NOC was recognized by the IOC in 1923, while Estonia's and Lithuania's NOCs were recognized in 1924. However, following the Soviet occupation of the Baltic states their NOCs were disbanded. When they regained their independence their NOCs were re-recognized in 1991.
- Tanzania's IOC dates back to 1958 upon the recognition of Tanganyika. Tanganyika and Zanzibar united on 26 April 1964, to form Tanzania, but the new country was permitted to participate at the 1964 Summer Olympics under Tanganyika's IOC. Tanzania was recognized as the successor of Tanganyika's IOC in 1968.
- South Africa participated in the Olympics since 1904 - even before it became a unified country - its membership was suspended in 1962 and reinstated in 1991 with the abolition of apartheid.
The NOCs are all members of the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC), which is also split among five continental associations:
|Continent||Association||NOCs||Oldest NOC||Newest NOC|
|Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa||54||Egypt (1910)||South Sudan (2015)|
|Pan American Sports Organization||41||United States (1894)|| Dominica (1993)|
Saint Kitts and Nevis (1993)
Saint Lucia (1993)
|Olympic Council of Asia||44||Japan (1912)||Timor-Leste (2003)|
|European Olympic Committees||50||France (1894)||Kosovo (2014)|
|Oceania National Olympic Committees||17||Australia (1895)||Tuvalu (2007)|
See the article for each continental association for the complete lists of all NOCs.
Unrecognized National Olympic Committees
The Macau Sports and Olympic Committee was founded in 1987 and has attempted to enroll to the IOC since its foundation, but is still not officially recognized and thus no athlete has participated in the Olympic Games under the name "Macau, China". It has, however, participated in the Paralympic Games.
Other existing countries/regions with unrecognized Olympic committees: Catalonia, Gibraltar, French Polynesia, Niue, Somaliland, New Caledonia, Kurdistan, Northern Cyprus, Abkhazia, Native Americans, the Northern Mariana Islands, Anguilla, Montserrat, Transnistria and Turks & Caicos Islands.
- Designated as Chinese Taipei by the IOC.
- "Overseas Territories (3rd February 2012)". Publications.parliament.uk. Retrieved 23 January 2014.
- "127th IOC Session comes to close in Monaco". International Olympic Committee. 9 December 2014. Retrieved 6 August 2016.
The NOC of Kosovo met the requirements for recognition as outlined in the Olympic Charter. These include the sport and technical requirements as well as the definition of “country” as defined in Rule 30.1 – “an independent State recognised by the international community.” Kosovo is recognised as a country by 108 of the 193 UN Member States.
- "Executive Board concludes first meeting of the new year". olympic.org ("Official website of the Olympic movement"). 13 January 2011. Retrieved 13 January 2011.
- "Curtain comes down on 123rd IOC Session". Olympic.org.
- The OCA includes 45 NOCs; the Macau Sports and Olympic Committee is not recognized by the IOC and Macau does not compete at the Olympic Games.
- "Ítróttasamband Føroya | Just another WordPress weblog". Isf.fo. Archived from the original on 10 January 2010. Retrieved 16 August 2010.
- Hargreaves, John (2000). Freedom for Catalonia? : Catalan nationalism, Spanish identity and the Barcelona Olympic Games ([Online-Ausg.]. ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521586153.
- "www.andalucia.com". www.andalucia.com. Retrieved 20 June 2012.
- Friedrich, Walter L. "Questia, Your Online Research Library". Accessmylibrary.com. Archived from the original on 16 August 2012. Retrieved 23 January 2014.
- "Full Page - Niue Island Sports Association and National Olympic Committee - FOX SPORTS PULSE". Sportingpulse.com. Retrieved 23 January 2014.
- "Website ka wasaaradda Dhalinyaradda Iyo Ciyaaraha Somaliland - Homepage". Somalilandolympics.org. 18 January 2010. Archived from the original on 18 June 2013. Retrieved 16 August 2010.
- "New Caledonia National Olympic Committee". SportingPulse. Retrieved 16 August 2010.
- "Display Article". Kurdishglobe.net. 16 January 2010. Archived from the original on 16 July 2011. Retrieved 16 August 2010.
- [dead link]
- "Turkish Cypriots denied access to London Olympics 2012". Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 6 March 2015.
- Smoltczyk, Alexander (27 August 2009). "The ABC Republic: Abkhazia Attempts to Invent Itself - SPIEGEL ONLINE". Spiegel.de. Retrieved 23 January 2014.
- "Native Americans seek recognition". Nativevoices.org. 27 February 2006. Archived from the original on 28 September 2011. Retrieved 16 August 2010.
- "Jim Thorpe's Sons Bolster Native American Olympic Dream : Fri, 10 Jul 2009 : eNewsChannels". Enewschannels.com. 10 July 2009. Retrieved 16 August 2010.
- "CANOC Members". canoc.net. Archived from the original on 2 October 2009. Retrieved 16 August 2010.
- "В Южной Осетии продолжат работу над созданием национального олимпийского комитета - Политика, выборы, власть - Новости - ИА REGNUM". Regnum.ru. Archived from the original on 19 February 2014. Retrieved 23 January 2014.
- "Armenia Karabakh Ministers Sign Accord | Asbarez Armenian News". Asbarez.com. 4 February 1999. Retrieved 23 January 2014.
- "National Olympic Committees". International Olympic Committee. Retrieved 21 January 2008.
- Association of National Olympic Committees website
Media related to National Olympic Committees at Wikimedia Commons