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.
== National Olympic Committees ==
As of 2015 there are 206 NOCs, representing both sovereign states and other geographical areas. Each of the 193 member states of the United Nations have IOC-recognized National Olympic Committees. Palestine is the only United Nations observer state that has a NOC. The NOC of 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, has also been recognized. Two states with limited recognition, Kosovo and Taiwan designated as ''Chinese Taipei'' by the IOC, have IOC recognized NOCs.
In addition to these 197 NOCs, there are 9 dependent territories with their own NOC:
* Four territories of the United States: American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and United States Virgin Islands (designated just ''Virgin Islands'' by the IOC),
* Three British Overseas Territories: Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, and Cayman Islands
* One territory from the Kingdom of the Netherlands in the Caribbean: Aruba. The Netherlands Antilles lost its status in July 2011 as a result of the dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles in 2010.〔(【引用サイトリンク】title=Curtain comes down on 123rd IOC Session )〕
* Hong Kong, a special administrative region of China
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. The states which thus qualify to participate in the future are the Vatican City, a UN observer, 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, and athletes from those territories can only participate in the Olympics as part of their parent nation's national team. However, the rule does not apply retroactively, so dependent territories which were recognised before the rule change are allowed to continue sending separate teams to the Olympics. Also, the Faroe Islands and Macau have their own Paralympic teams.
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