Diplomatic boycotts of the 2022 Winter Olympics may take away some of the conventional spirit and camaraderie of the games, but the international celebration remains a platform for nations to write their athletic histories.
Two countries will make their Winter Olympic debuts while several others will look to eclipse medal records.
Here’s a guide to how many countries will participate in the Winter Olympics and which ones will make diplomatic boycotts in 2022.
How many countries are in the 2022 Winter Olympics?
There are 84 countries participating in the 2022 Winter Olympics.
Individual National Olympic Committees (NOCs) help organize each country’s proposal for recognition before the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
How many National Olympic Committees are there?
Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics
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There are a total of 206 NOCs, which are devised by the IOC and the International Sport Federation. These two organizations are the sole authorities who come together to recognize NOCs for the official summer and winter games.
What new countries are competing at the Winter Olympics?
Both Haiti and Peru are new to the Winter Olympics in 2022. Both countries will be represented by a single person, both, coincidently, in Alpine skiing.
Richardson Viano is with Haiti and Ornella Oettl Reyes is with Peru.
Are there any countries not returning to the Olympics in 2022?
North Korea is the lone country that participated in the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang that will not be returning to compete this year.
North Korea was suspended from Beijing 2022 because of its decision to not attend the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics. The IOC claims that North Korea breached the Olympic charter, failing "to fulfill one of the fundamental duties and obligations of a NOC."
What countries are boycotting the Olympics in China?
U.S. diplomatic officials will not be participating in the “fanfare of the games,” according to the White House. That means government leaders will not travel to Beijing for the games. The diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Olympics, which includes President Joe Biden, stems from the White House calling out China for human rights abuses.
Canada, Australia and Japan have joined the United States in announcing a diplomatic boycott during the games, as have Lithuania and the United Kingdom.
Additionally, New Zealand officials and athletes will not be attending for “a range of factors” but primarily due to COVID-19 concerns.
Has the US ever boycotted the Olympics before?
Yes, but it's been more than 40 years since it did so. In 1980, President Jimmy Carter called a Summer Olympics boycott in Moscow in response to the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan.
In that case, Carter prohibited officials and athletes from attending the Moscow Games. Unlike 1980, Team USA will have athletes in Beijing.
Is South Korea participating in the Winter Olympics?
South Korea is not suspended from competition, nor is the country supporting the United States’ diplomatic boycott. South Korea will send officials, claiming a dependence on China in the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
Will Russia compete at the 2022 Olympics in Beijing?
Russia will not technically participate in the 2022 Winter Olympics because of the two-year ban they received from the World Anti-Doping Agency — the agency that monitors the fight against drugs in Olympic competitions. However, Russian athletes will participate under the ostensibly neutral flag of the Russian Olympic Committee, as they did during the PyeongChang 2018 games. They have not competed under the Russian flag since Rio 2016.
What is the ROC?
The ROC, or Russian Olympic Committee, will be competing in Beijing. They are prohibited from wearing the Russian flag on their attire and if their uniforms do say “Russia,” they have to include the phrase “neutral athlete” as well. If the athlete wins, the Russian national anthem will not be played, but rather some other song not associated with Russia.
For instance, during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, when Vitalina Batsarashkina won an event for the ROC, music was played from Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1.
What countries have the most Winter Olympic medals?
Norway has the most medals in Winter Olympic history, including 132 gold, 125 silver, and 11 bronze, which comes to a total of 368 medals in the 23 Winter Games they have participated in.
Which country has competed in the most Winter Olympics without winning a gold medal?
There are several countries that have participated in the games that have yet to receive a gold medal, including Latvia, Yugoslavia, Luxembourg, New Zealand, North Korea, and Denmark.
The country to go the longest without winning a Winter Olympic gold medal is Romania. They have participated in 21 Winter Olympic games since 1924.
Which country will host the 2026 Winter Olympics?
Italy will host the Milano Cortina Olympics in 2026.
Paris is the next Summer Olympic host city, with France playing the role of host nation for 2024.