by Liz Olson
In the 2008, 204 countries participated in the Beijing Summer Games. With only 195 independent countries in the world, this begs the question, what were the other countries?
National Olympic Committees
Although there are only 195 independent countries in the world, there are 205 National Olympic Committees (NOC) worldwide that have been recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The IOC permitted 12 territories to form their own NOC and send athletes to Beijing to compete in the 2008 Summer Games.
The purpose of each NOC is to promote the development of athletes and sports within the country or territory, as well as to facilitate the participation of their own athletes in the Games. Athletes cannot participate in the Games unless they are sent by a National Olympic Committee.
Who did not compete?
If all the independent countries of the world and 12 other territories competed, that would equal 207 participants. Out of the 195 independent countries, only 192 sent athletes to the 2008 Summer Games. The three countries that did not send athletes include Brunei, Kosovo, and Vatican City. Brunei, which has an NOC, planned to send two athletes, but they did not register them on time. Kosovo, the world’s newest country, had not yet formed a National Olympic Committee. Vatican City also does not have a National Olympic Committee, and therefore did not compete.
The 12 territories that participated in the 2008 Summer Games included
- American Samoa
- British Virgin Islands
- Cayman Islands
- Hong Kong
- Netherlands Antilles
- Puerto Rico
- U.S. Virgin Islands