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"Countries" Participating in the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing

12 Non-Countries Are Competing in the Olympic Games

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The Great Wall of China

Matt Rosenberg
Updated August 10, 2008
The media reports that there are 204 "countries" competing in the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing but with only 195 countries in the world, how does that work out? Allow me to explain.

All but three of the 195 independent countries of the world are participating in the Olympic Games, thus there are 192 countries participating.

There are twelve territories or other entities that have been permitted by the International Olympic Committee to have their own National Olympic Committee (NOC). By having an independent NOC, each of these twelve places is able to compete in the Olympic Games and plans on sending athletes to Beijing for the 2008 Summer Games there.

Thus, the total of 192 independent countries and 12 territories equals the number 204 that is being thrown about as the number of "countries" competing in the Summer Games.

Three Countries Not Participating in the Olympic Games

  • Brunei has planned on sending its two athletes to the Summer Games but they unfortunately did not register swimmer Maria Grace Koh and shot putter Mohammed Yazid Yatimi Yusof on time.
  • Kosovo is the world's newest country and does not yet have complete international recognition. Therefore, Kosovo does not have a National Olympic Committee and could not compete in Beijing.
  • The Vatican City does not have a National Olympic Committee and has not publicized any aspirations to form one in order to compete in the Olympic Games.

Non-Countries Participating in the Olympic Games

These are the twelve non-countries participating in the Summer Games. I have included the reason that each entity is not a country.

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