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Flags of Non-Participating Countries

Flags of non-participating countries are also restricted. Some 204 National Olympic Committees are represented, including 196 independent countries.

Some participants, such as the Cook Islands and Puerto Rico, are territories of larger countries but compete under their own flags. Non-participating flags are allowed if they are “under the umbrella of a participating country,” such as the flag of England or Wales, which are under the umbrella of Britain.

Although most countries are participating, a few notable ones stand out, such as South Sudan (flag pictured), which declared independence from Sudan in July 2011 but has yet to form an Olympic committee.

This has forced marathon runner Guor Marialto compete as an independent rather than under the Sudanese flag. Another country not participating is the disputed territory of Western Sahara. Taiwan will compete under “Chinese Taipei,” which has a flag created specifically for the Olympics.

Photo: Oren Ziv | AFP | Getty Images