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Founded on June 23, 1894, and headquartered in Lausanne, Switzerland, the International Olympic Committee is a non-governmental organization charged with safeguarding and promoting the Olympic Movement worldwide, serving as the umbrella organization for the International Federations and National Olympic Committees, and awarding the Olympic and Paralympic Games to host cities.

Headquartered in Bonn, Germany, the International Paralympic Committee is the global governing body of the Paralympic Movement that is responsible for organizing Paralympic Games, as well as acting as the International Federation for multiple sports.

The Olympic Movement is overseen by the International Olympic Committee. The IOC is supported by International Federations that govern each sport on a global level, National Olympic Committees that oversee Olympic sport as a whole in each nation, and National Federations that administer each sport at the national level (called National Governing Bodies in the United States). Forty-seven NGBs are members of the USOC.

International Federations

The International Federations are the international organizations recognized by the IOC that administer sports at a worldwide level, including organization of events at the Games. The IFs are responsible for the integrity of their sport(s) internationally.

National Olympic Committees & National Paralympic Committees

The principles of Olympism are promoted at a countrywide level by more than 205 National Olympic and Paralympic Committees. These organizations are responsible for selecting and sending teams to the Games, supporting the growth of sport in their countries, and supervising the selection of potential Games bid cities.

The USOC is the sole custodian of the Olympic Movement in the United States. As such, the USOC created a unique division of services through 46 National Governing Bodies that maximizes the country’s competitive potential on a worldwide stage.

Organizing Committee of the Olympic Games

Organizing each Olympic and Paralympic Games is entrusted to the NOC of the host city, as well as to the host city itself. The NOC forms an Organizing Committee of the Games, and the OCOG is required to report directly to the IOC.

Olympic Charter

Adopted by the International Olympic Committee, the Olympic Charter governs the organization, action and operation of the Olympic Movement and sets forth the conditions for the celebration of the Olympic Games. In essence, the codification serves three main purposes:

• Outlines the fundamental principles and essential values of Olympism.
• Serves as statutes for the IOC.
• Defines the main reciprocal rights and obligations of the three main constituents of the Olympic Movement, namely the IOC, the IFs and the NOCs, as well as the OCOGs.

"Blending sport with culture and education, Olympism seeks to create a way of life based on the joy found in effort, the educational value of good example and respect for universal fundamental ethical principles. The goal of Olympism is to place sport at the service of the harmonious development of man, with a view to promoting a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity." (Olympic Charter)

Click here to read the Olympic Charter in full.