The Olympic Charter is a set of rules and guidelines for the organisation of the Olympic Games, and for governing the Olympic movement. Its last revision was on the 17th of July 2020 during the 136th IOC Session, held by video conference. Adopted by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), it is the codification of the fundamental principles, rules and by-laws. French and English are the official languages of the Olympic Charter.
Throughout the history of the Olympics, the Olympic Charter has often decided the outcome of Olympic controversy. As expressed in its introduction, the Olympic Charter serves three main purposes:
With its 6 chapters and 61 articles, the Olympic Charter outlines in detail several guidelines and rules. This article highlights and summarises those items considered most important to governing the Olympic Games, the Olympic movement, and its three main constituents: the International Olympic Committee, the International Federations, and the National Olympic Committees.
Article 2: The mission of the IOC is to promote Olympism throughout the world and to lead the Olympic Movement. This includes upholding ethics in sports, encouraging participation in sports, ensuring the Olympic Games take place on a regular period, protecting the Olympic Movement, and encouraging and supporting the development of sport.
Article 6: The Olympic Games are competitions between athletes in individual or team events and not between countries.
Article 8: The Olympic symbol consists of five interlocking rings which, from left to right are blue, yellow, black, green and red.
This chapter outlines the membership, meetings, and guiding doctrines of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
Chapter 3 discusses the role of International Federations (IFs) in the Olympic movement. IFs are international non-governmental organisations that administer to sports at the world level and encompass organisations administering such sports at the national level. For each sport that is part of the Olympic Games, an International Federation exists. These IFs work to ensure their sports are developed in a way that agrees with the Olympic Charter and the Olympic spirit. With technical expertise in its particular sport, an IF has control over eligibility for competition as well as details of the venue in which the athletic competition takes place.
Article 28: The mission of the National Olympic Committees (NOCs) is to develop, promote and protect the Olympic Movement in their respective countries. The role of NOCs within each country is to promote the spirit of Olympicism, ensure the observance of the Olympic Charter, and to encourage ethics in and development of sports. They are in charge of their country's representation at the Games, deciding on a host city for the Games, and cooperation with governmental and non-governmental bodies during the Games.
This chapter addresses the celebration of the Olympic Games, the selection of the host city, the eligibility code for participation in the games, those sports included in the Games, media coverage, publications, and propaganda allowed for the Games.
In addition, Section 3 of this chapter discusses applicable protocol for Olympic functions and events. This includes an outline of use of the Olympic flag, flame, and opening and closing ceremonies. The five rings of the Olympic games signify the five continents.
This chapter addresses (Measures and Sanctions, Disciplinary Procedures and Dispute Resolution)
The Olympic Charter is not simply a matter of unenforced policy for the Olympic Games. Throughout history, it has served as guidance for the proceedings of the Games. Below are a few of the most recent examples:
The Olympic Congress is organized by the IOC. The Congress include representatives of the constituents of the Olympic Movement. The date and place of the Olympic Congress is determined by the Session. The Session also determines the duties of the president of the Congress. The Olympic Congress' participants are the members, Honorary President, honorary members and honour members of the IOC, the delegates representing the IFs and the NOCs. The representatives of the organizations recognized by the IOC may also take place at the Congress.