The "Two-Chinas" problem and the Olympic formula / Gerald Chan

Chan, Gerald

After an absence of thirty-two years, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) returned to the Olympic Games and surprised the sports world by carrying away fifteen gold medals from Los Angeles in August 1984. What interests the academic world more, perhaps, is the political significance of the fact that both the PRC and Taiwan took part in the same Games for the first time in the history of the Summer Olympics. How did this come about? To answer this question, it is necessary to go through the history of China’s relations with the International Olympic Committee (IOC), to find out how the so-called IOC formula was devised to solve the “two-Chinas” problem in this sphere – the competing claims of the PRC and Taiwan to be the sole legitimate representative of China in the Olympic Movement. Also, it is interesting to see the applicability of the formula in solving similar problems in other international sporting organizations.

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