Tokyo Olympics By Numbers: Participating Country Stats and Facts

The Tokyo Olympics will feature more than 11,000 athletes competing in 41 different sports

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Each of the Olympians gathering in Japan this summer for the Tokyo Games will add to the long history of the Olympics, which have been played every four years since 1896 (except 1916 due to World War I, 1940 and 1944 due to World War II and 2020 due to COVID-19). Tokyo has hosted the Olympics once before in 1964.

Here’s a look at some different records and notable stats ahead of the 2021 Olympics:

How many countries are competing in the Tokyo Olympics?

There are 206 countries in the International Olympic Committee (IOC), which means Team USA athletes won't be the only competitors vying for their place in the history books.

What is the smallest country to compete in the Olympics?

Nauru holds the distinction as the smallest nation (by population) to compete in the Olympics. A small island located in the Pacific Ocean to the northeast of Australia, Nauru has an estimated population of 11,500. The country has yet to medal since it first competed in the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. Nauru has only competed in the Olympics for weightlifting and judo, sending a total of 13 athletes in the last six Games (1996 to 2016).

NBC Sports’ Mike Tirico said viewers can expect a “realistic, honest” opening ceremony. “It’s not in a vacuum,” Tirico said. “It’s understanding that people are hurting. There are difficult times."

Which is the most populous country to never win an Olympic medal?

Bangladesh, with a population of 149,772,364 at their 2011 census, is the most populous country to never win an Olympic medal. While Bangladesh has never competed in the Winter Olympics, it has sent athletes to the Summer Olympics every four years since 1984. Forty-three athletes from Bangladesh have represented their country at the Olympics in track and field, swimming, shooting, gymnastics and golf.

Which country has the fewest Olympic medals?

There are 72 countries that have never earned an Olympic medal. Some of the larger, more notable countries never to medal include Bolivia, Cambodia, Honduras, Nepal and Yemen.

From countries that regularly win Olympic medals, like the USA, to others still eyeing that first gold, here are the most and least decorated countries.

Which country has competed in the most Olympics without winning a gold medal?

Monaco has competed in 20 Summer Olympic Games without earning a gold medal, which is the most appearances ever without a gold. Known for its famed Formula 1 race and as a tourist destination among the wealthy, Monaco has sent 110 athletes to the Summer Olympic Games since its first trip in 1920. Monaco has not only never won a gold medal, it has never won any medal at the Olympics -- summer or winter.

Olympic Medals Adjusted Per Athlete

Since the 1896 games in Athens, the number of countries and athletes participating in the Olympics has ballooned in size lowering the number of medals per athlete for each country.

Source: International Society of Olympic Historians; Olympedia; International Olympic Committee
Credit: Andrew Williams/NBC

Which country has attended the fewest Olympics? 

Among currently existing nations, South Sudan and Kosovo have attended the fewest Olympics with one appearance each (both in 2016). Both of these countries have one key thing in common: they haven’t existed for very long. South Sudan gained independence from Sudan in 2011 while Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008, so neither country appeared in the Olympics until 2016.

How many athletes are competing in the Tokyo Olympics?

A total of 11,091 athletes are expected to compete in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Those 11,091 athletes will compete in 41 different sports and 339 events this summer at the Olympics.

Which country has hosted the most Olympics?

France will play host for a sixth time in 2024 but it will still be chasing the United States as the country that has hosted the most Olympics. The United States has hosted the Olympics eight times. Team USA will once again be playing on its home turf when the games return stateside with the 2028 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.

Brisbane was picked Wednesday to host the 2032 Olympics
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