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 GamesThese are the twelve non-countries participating in the Summer Games. I have included the reason that each entity is not a country.
American Samoa (a territory of the United States)
- Aruba (part of the Netherlands)
- Bermuda (a territory of the United Kingdom)
- British Virgin Islands (a territory of the United Kingdom)
- Cayman Islands (a territory of the United Kingdom)
- Cook Islands (self-governing in free association with New Zealand)
- Guam (a territory of the United States)
- Hong Kong (special administrative region of China)
- Netherlands Antilles (a territory of the Netherlands)
- Palestine (Palestine is not a country.)
- Puerto Rico (a territory of the United States)
- U.S. Virgin Islands (a territory of the United States)