Zhōnghuá Rénmín Gònghéguó
(People's Republic of China)

Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg
National Flag
People's Republic of China (orthographic projection).svg
Location on Map
Years Hosted Olympics

2008 Summer; 2022 Winter

Years Attended Olympics Summer: 1952, 1984-2016
Winter: 1980-2014
Medals 2012 Summer 38 gold, 29 silver, 21 bronze
Medals 2014 Winter 3 gold, 4 silver, 2 bronze
Total Olympic Medals
Gold medal iconGold Silver medal iconSilver Bronze medal iconBronze
213 268 145
National Olympic Committee
Chinese Olympic Committee

The People's Republic of China (PRC) first competed at the Olympic Games in 1952, at the Summer Games in Helsinki, although they only arrived in time to participate in one event.[1] That year, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) allowed both the PRC and the Republic of China (which recently relocated to Taiwan after the Chinese Civil War) to compete, although the latter withdrew in protest.[1] Due to the dispute over the political status of China, the PRC did not participate in the Olympics again until the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid.[1] Their first appearance at the Summer Olympic Games after 1952 was the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.[2]

The People's Republic of China hosted the Games on one occasion: the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.

The Chinese Olympic Committee in its current form was recognized in 1979.[1] Before the Chinese Civil War, athletes competed as the Republic of China (ROC) at the Olympics. The ROC continued to compete from 1952 to 1976 (Winter), but only representing athletes from the island of Taiwan (although the football team members of ROC in the 1960 Olympic Games were overwhelmingly Hong Kongers). The dispute over use of the name China resulted in the PRC boycotting the Games completely during these years. In 1979, the International Olympic Committee passed a resolution for the ROC team to be designated Chinese Taipei, and this opened the door for the PRC to finally join the Olympic movement.[1]

Hong Kong has had a distinct National Olympic Committee since 1950 and has competed at the Games since 1952.[3] After the territory was returned to the PRC and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region was created in 1997, this arrangement has continued, with Hong Kong competing independently from the rest of the nation under the name Hong Kong, China.[3]


The People's Republic of China (PRC) sent a delegation to the Olympic Games for the first time at the 1952 in Helsinki, Finland. The Chinese delegation (including athletes and officials) consisted of 38 men and 2 women,[4] including the men's football team, the men's basketball team, and one swimmer. Only the swimmer arrived in time to take part in the official competition, and the football team played two friendly matches.[5] The Chinese stayed 10 days in Helsinki and participated in the closing ceremony.

The Republic of China's (ROC) team withdrew from the Games on July 17 in response to the IOC's decision to allow both PRC and ROC sportsmen and women to compete.[6] This marked the beginning of the "two Chinas" conflict in the Olympic Movement, which resulted in the Chinese Olympic Committee's withdrawal from the IOC in August 1958. The issue was resolved in November 1979, and the People's Republic of China participated in the 1980 Winter Olympics—their first appearance since the 1952 Games.[4]

The first gold medal to be awarded at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles was also the first-ever gold medal to be won by an athlete from China (both ROC and PRC) when Xu Haifeng won the 50 m Pistol event. It was called "a break through zero" - an event that brought great joy to the whole Chinese nation.[7] Li Ning won also 6 medals in gymnastics, 3 gold, 2 silver, and 1 bronze, earning him the nickname "Prince of Gymnasts" in China.[8] In its first full participation at the Summer Olympic Games, China earned 15 gold, 8 silver and 9 bronze medals and placed fourth in medal standing. The Eastern Bloc led by the Soviet Union had boycotted these Olympics, so some of the strongest sporting nations like USSR and East Germany were not participating. In the 1988 Summer Olympics at Seoul, South Korea, China finished 11th in the medal standings. However, its athletes rapidly improved, finishing 4th at the 1992 Summer Olympics at Barcelona, Spain. In subsequent Summer Olympics, China has always finished at 4th or better ranking, culminating in the first rank in the 2008 Summer Olympics, which it hosted at Beijing.

At the 2004 Olympics, China took home 63 medals, 36 of them (57.1 percent of the total) being won by young athletes; 10 of the gold medal winners were under 20 years old. Chinese athletes made outstanding achievements in tennis, canoeing and track and field. Hurdling star Liu Xiang became the first Chinese man to win gold in an Olympic track event, finishing first in the 110-meter hurdles and equaling the world record of 12.91 seconds. In canoeing Meng Guanliang and Yang Wenjun won the men's C2 500 final, China's first Olympic gold in aquatic sports. Sun Tiantian and Li Ting won the women's tennis doubles final, China's first ever tennis gold.

Summer Olympics Medal CountsEdit

Games Athletes Gold Silver Bronze Total Rank
Helsinki 1952 1 0 0 0 0 n/a
Los Angeles 1984 216 15 8 9 32 4
Seoul 1988 273 5 11 12 28 11
Barcelona 1992 244 16 22 16 54 4
Atlanta 1996 294 16 22 12 50 4
Sydney 2000 271 28 16 14 58 3
Athens 2004 384 32 17 14 63 2
Beijing 2008 639 51 21 28 100 1
London 2012 396 38 29 21 88 2


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