In this article, Karan Singh of JGLS discusses On what grounds can International Olympic Committee (IOC) suspend a country from participating in Olympics.

Like every other athlete, I always dreamt of playing at the Olympics, and it feels really good to see that dream materialize”Mary Kom


Olympics Games are the international sporting events. It features winter and summer sports and 100s of countries and athletes take part in this event. The Olympics games are held every 4 years.

History of Olympic is very interesting. Olympics games began in the year 776 BC where a cook from the nearby city of Elis won the stadion race, a foot race of 600 feet long. From 776 BC, the games were held in Olympia every four years for almost 12 centuries. The ancient Olympic Games were a part of a religious festival in honor of Zeus.[1]

After ancient, the first Olympic was held in Athens, Greece, in 1896. A Frenchman named Baron Pierre de Coubertin was responsible for the rebirth of these games who presented the idea in 1894. Baron Pierre de Coubertin also introduced the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 1894. IOC is responsible for the authority and structure of every Olympic games.

In 2016, a number of nations participated were 207 with 11,237 number of athletes were present for the total of 28 number of sports. 2016 Olympics were held in Rio, Brazil. This was the first South American city to host the summer Olympics.

The Olympics Movement contains organization, athletes, and another person who agree to be guided by the principles of the Olympic Charter. It comprises of 3 main committees: The IOC, The International Federation(IF), and The National Olympic Committee.

The International Federation (IF)

This committee purpose is to address to the IOC concerning the Olympic charter and the Olympic movement, Including the organization and holding of the Olympic Games. This committee gives their opinions concerning the candidatures for organizing the Olympic Games, collaborate in the preparation of the Olympic Congresses and participate in the activities of the IOC commissions.

National Olympic Committees

National Olympic Committees are developed by the IOC in every country. Their mission is to develop, promote and protect the Olympic Movement in their respective country. The NOCs are the only organizations that can select and designate the city which may apply to organize Olympic Games in their respective countries. In addition, they alone can send athletes to the Games.

International Olympic Committee

The IOC acts as the guardian of the Olympic Games.It is responsible for a number of key elements in the organization of the Olympics. Every question related to Olympics is answered by IOC. IOC also has the power to elect the host city following a rigorous bidding process. IOC contributes a significant amount for the games. IOC is the main part of the Olympic Games. this committee also has the power to decide if any country is disqualified from any games on any ground.[2]

Known as the Supreme authority of the movement. This committee promotes sport and competitions through the intermediary of national and international sports institutions worldwide. It also provides advancements of women in sports at all levels and in all structures with a view to achieve equality between men and women. It also opposes to all forms of commercial exploitation of sport and athletes. It also fights against doping and discourages the use of it.  It also promotes awareness of environmental problems.[3] IOC has the power to remove a country and even a sports from their list. Many sports like cricket, polo, baseball has already been removed from the list.

Thomas Bach was elected president of the IOC on 10 September 2013 at the 125th IOC Session.

List of sports that will be added in 2020 Olympics in Tokyo

  • Baseball: Baseball began in Olympics in 1992, but was last played in 2008 in Beijing after which it was removed in 2012 London Olympics.
  • Softball: Softball was introduced in 1996 and it was disbanded in 2008 Games.

After an appeal was lost in 2013, the two sports were voted back in unanimously on Wednesday, as were the other four, which will all be making their debut at the next Summer Olympics. That includes karate, which originated in Japan, where the 2020 games will take place.[4]

List of sports that are removed from Olympics:[5]

Unlike countries, IOC has the power to remove sports from its list. These sports are:

  • Tug of War: This game was introduced in 1900 but till 1920 it was removed from the list. But due to some controversies, it was removed.
  • Cricket: Cricket was introduced in Olympics in 1900 but things got off to a rough start when the Belgian and Dutch team withdrew it from the field leaving only British team and the French team. Teams didn’t know that they are participating in an Olympic game. Until the IOC sat down to make a comprehensive record of the Games in 1912 that the two squads received official recognition as gold and silver medalists in cricket. The sport never returned to the Games.
  • Basque Pelota: Unlike cricket, only two teams showed up and sports were removed from the Olympic game due to lack of participants.
  • Polo: The Olympic was not able to handle this sports as it came on and off throughout the 40 years of the modern game. Only British them was competing against each other. IOC removed it because the game was not consistent in all the Olympic games.
  • Water Motorsports: Motorsports were introduced in 1900 games. IN this 3 teams competed but due to bad weather 2 teams boat filled with water and they suffered engine problems and had to quit. As a result, only 1 team finished the race. It was the first time Olympic water motorsports medals were handed to one team only. Because of this reason this sport was removed.

IOC has the Power to suspend a whole country

IOC has the power to suspend a country if they see any problem with the country. It can be related to politics, war or drug use. Many grounds are given in which countries got banned from the Games. A total of 9 countries has already been banned on different grounds. These grounds are mentioned below:

If the country is involved in the war:

If the country is involved in any type of activity which is related to War, then IOC can suspend that country from Olympics. In 1920’s Olympic held at Antwerp, five countries were banned due to their involvement in the First World War: Austria, Bulgaria, Turkey, Hungary, and Germany.

IN 1948 Olympic held in London. Germany and Japan were suspended for their participation in Second World War.

Discrimination or segregation on grounds of race

If the country is involved in discrimination on grounds of race through rioting, raising slogans, terrorism, etc then IOC can suspend a country on the basis of this ground. IN 1964 Olympic held at Tokyo, South Africa was banned by the IOC from taking part due to its oppressive apartheid regime. This ban lasted until 1992.

Discrimination on the ground of sex

IOC’s main mission is to end discrimination against women. due to which, IOC banned Afghanistan from 2000 Olympic held in Sydney. Afghanistan was banned from the Olympics due to its discrimination against women under Taliban rule as well as its prohibition of sports of any kind.


If any countries athletes are involved in any kind of doping or taking drugs that are banned. The IOC will suspend that country and all the athletes from the Olympics. IOC does not promote doping and discourages it. In 2016 Olympics held in Rio, many Russian competitors were banned following revelations of state-sponsored doping. All athletes from athletics, rowing, weightlifting, and canoeing were banned.

Government Interference

If any countries government interferes with the IOC working then that country can be suspended by the IOC from participating in the Olympics. In 2016 Rio Olympics, IOC suspended Kuwaiti Olympic Committee due to interference from the government.

IOC Board executive confirms that gender equality and more innovation will be there for Winter Youth Olympic Games Lausanne 2020.

Due to the IOC collaboration with the Winter International Federation and Lausanne 2020, the IOC has ensured that more youth, more women and more innovation content will be introduced at the Winter Youth Olympic Games. The IOC also confirmed that two wave stay of athletes will be introduced for Lausanne 2020 which will give more young athletes the opportunity to participate in Winter Youth Olympic Games.  The decision of including ski mountaineering as the 8th sport in the Winter Youth Olympic Games in the Olympic Capital will be proposed.


For athletes Olympic games are like a dream, they work hard, they play hard for this game. For Olympic Games, IOC is the main branch on which it works. Countries should understand the role of IOC and should follow the rules that are given by IOC. IOC does not promote any doping or discrimination but then also countries or athletes do it. If there are rules, it is for everyone. IOC has made the rules for the people and only after understanding the situation of every country. Gender discrimination is very common in countries like Afghanistan, Pakistan, Dubai etc. IOC understand it very well and to make the rules strict, IOC takes steps like suspending a country from a game. It is very important to give fair chance to everyone in these types of games. IOC’s aim is to promote games in every country and discourage the activities that are not good or unfair for the athletes.



[1] https://www.penn.museum/sites/olympics/olympicorigins.shtml

[2] https://www.olympic.org/news/roles-and-responsibilities-at-the-olympic-games

[3] https://www.olympic.org/about-ioc-institution

[4] http://www.foxsports.com/olympics/story/these-6-sports-have-been-added-for-the-2020-olympic-games-080316

[5] http://mentalfloss.com/article/31300/10-sports-cut-olympics


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