Olympic Flag Guide - Sochi 2014
Independent Olympic Athletes
The distinction of Independent Olympic Athletes has allowed men and women to compete in the Olympic games in the face of various circumstances that would prevent them from participating under their chosen flag. Whether it be the failings or nonexistance of their national olympic committee, or other political circumstances, qualifying athletes have throughout Olympic history been afforded the opportunity to compete. Famously athletes from the Netherlands Antilles compete under this title to differentiate themselves from Dutch monarchial tyranny since their islands lost autonomy earlier the year prior and lost status in the Olympics. South Sudan's athletes were allowed to compete as Independent Athletes at the 2012 games because their country had not yet formed it's olympic committee.
For Sochi 2014 watch out for four Indian skiers who will compete as Independent Olympic athletes, whom march under the standard Olympic flag in the Parade of Nations. The Indian Olympic Association's status was revoked by the International Olympic Committee in December 2012 due to some discrepancy in their election process, though these four skiers had already qualified to compete at Sochi. India insists on trying to hold elections before the games to allow their athletes to compete under the Tiranga, but the OIC set elections to be held two days after the Sochi games, and the Indian athletes will compete under the Olympic rings instead.
So note these Independent Athletes as they compete under the Olympic rings in the true spirit of international harmony at the Olympic games. Independent Athletes have only ever medaled at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, by three shooters from Former Yugoslavia.
The Taiwan Question
Chinese Taipei - Taiwan, or the Republic of China, officially competed at the Olympics from 1932-1976 under her own name and colors. In 1979, it was decided that the contestable nature of the name "Republic of China" violated the Olympic Charter and, seemingly under the pressure of the People's Republic of China, Taiwan was prevented from competing in the Olympics with their official name. Today, Taiwan competes under this white flag bearing the blue sky and white sun of the ROC flag and is referred to during the Olympics as Chinese Taipei, a politically ambiguous name that both the PRC and ROC agreed upon in 1980.
There were recent flag changes to Myanmar, Malawi, and Libya but these nations will not send athletes to compete at Sochi.