How Many Countries Participate in the Olympics?

How Many Countries Participate in the Olympics?

How Many Countries Participate in the Olympics?

89 total countries have qualified at least one athlete to participate in the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics. Included are the countries of Ecuador, Eritrea, Kosovo, Malaysia, and Singapore, each of which have never previously participated in the Winter Olympic Games. Russian athletes have been barred from participating in the 2018 Olympic Games on behalf of the Russian Olympic Committee. Instead, qualifying Russian athletes will compete under the designation Olympic Athlete from Russia (OAR).

The total number of National Olympic Committees (NOC) who have fielded athletes in the most recent games have been 207 in the 2016 Rio Olympics, 204 in the 2012 London Summer Olympics and 84 in the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. Three additional nations qualified for the Sochi Games but chose not to participate.

As a matter of convention, participating teams in Olympic Games are officially recognized by their National Olympic Committees, not the names of their respective countries. This practical measure represents an effort to appease nations with differing opinions on the sovereignty of one another. China, for example, does not recognize the independence of Taiwan, whose NOC participates in the Games under the name Chinese Taipei as a compromise. Additionally, there are qualifying athletes who, for reasons ranging from political discord to simple lack of domestic support, compete instead under a general Olympic flag.