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.
As of 2016, there are 206 NOCs: Each of the 193 member states of the United Nations; United Nations observer state Palestine; the Cook Islands, a state in free association with New Zealand whose capacity to participate in international organizations has been recognized by the United Nations Secretariat; and two states with limited recognition, Kosovo and Taiwan (designated as Chinese Taipei by the IOC).
There are also nine dependent territories with NOCs:
Prior to 1996, rules for recognising 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 state by the international community. Since the rule does not apply retroactively, the dependent territories 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 states which thus qualify to participate in the future are the Vatican City, a UN observer state, and Niue, a state in free association with New Zealand like the Cook Islands. Other disputed states face obstacles to being recognized by the IOC. Dependent territories such as Curaçao, the Faroe Islands, Gibraltar, Macau and New Caledonia can no longer be recognised by the IOC. Athletes from those territories can only participate in the Olympics as part of their parent nation's national team.
This section lists the current:
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 tournaments. These committees, however, are not allowed to participate in the Olympic Games.
The five continental associations are:
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 governing bodies that form UANOC are also members of both AOC and are eligible to send athletes to either the African or Asian Games. National Olympic Committees from UANOC member countries are noted in the list below.
1: National Olympic Committee is a member of UANOC
1: National Olympic Committee is a member of UANOC
2: National Olympic Committee is a member of OCA but not an ANOC member
3: Official name used by IOC, ANOC and OCA for Republic of China (Taiwan)
1: Israel was a member of OCA but left in 1981, it joined the EOC in 1994
1: National Olympic Committee is an associate member of ONOC but not an ANOC member
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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. Former states (e.g. The Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia, 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.
|Date of recognition||NOCs|
|1894||France United States|
|1895||Australia Germany Greece Hungary|
|1905||Denmark Great Britain|
|1912||Austria Japan Luxembourg Netherlands Serbia Spain Switzerland|
|1919||New Zealand Poland|
|1923||Argentina Latvia[a] Mexico Uruguay|
|1924||Bulgaria Estonia[a] Haiti Lithuania[a]|
|1935||Brazil Iceland Liechtenstein Venezuela|
|1936||Afghanistan Bermuda Bolivia Costa Rica Jamaica Malta Peru|
|1947||Guatemala Iran Myanmar Panama South Korea|
|1948||Colombia Guyana Iraq Lebanon Pakistan Puerto Rico Singapore Syria Trinidad and Tobago|
|1951||Hong Kong Nigeria|
|1952||Bahamas Ghana Indonesia Israel|
|1954||Cuba Dominican Republic Ethiopia Malaysia|
|1955||Barbados Fiji Kenya Liberia|
|1957||North Korea Tunisia|
|1959||Albania Ecuador Morocco Nicaragua San Marino Sudan Suriname|
|1962||Benin El Salvador Mongolia|
|1963||Cameroon Côte d'Ivoire Jordan Libya Mali Nepal Senegal|
|1964||Algeria Chad Madagascar Niger Congo Sierra Leone Zambia|
|1965||Central African Republic Guinea Saudi Arabia Togo|
|1967||Belize Virgin Islands|
|1968||Democratic Republic of the Congo Gabon Malawi Tanzania|
|1972||Burkina Faso Lesotho Mauritius Somalia Swaziland|
|1974||Papua New Guinea|
|1976||Antigua and Barbuda Cayman Islands Gambia|
|1979||Bahrain Laos Mauritania Mozambique People's Republic of China Seychelles Vietnam|
|1980||Angola Bangladesh Botswana Qatar United Arab Emirates Zimbabwe|
|1982||British Virgin Islands Oman|
|1983||Bhutan Samoa Solomon Islands|
|1984||Brunei Djibouti Equatorial Guinea Grenada Rwanda Tonga|
|1986||Aruba Cook Islands Guam|
|1987||American Samoa Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Vanuatu|
|1991||Estonia[a] Latvia [a] Lithuania [a] Namibia South Africa[b]|
|1993||Armenia Azerbaijan Belarus Bosnia and Herzegovina Burundi Cape Verde Comoros Croatia Czech Republic Dominica Georgia Kazakhstan Kyrgyzstan Moldova Macedonia Russia Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia São Tomé and Príncipe Slovakia Slovenia Tajikistan Turkmenistan Ukraine Uzbekistan|
|1995||Cambodia Guinea-Bissau Palestine|
|1997||Federated States of Micronesia|
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.
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, and Turks & Caicos Islands.