This study examines the Qatar Olympic participation and the creation of a national representation through sport. Until its independence from Britain in 1971, Qatar could not participate in any international sport competition. On September 3, 1971, the country's Heir Apparent appeared on local TV and announced the Qatar's independence. In subsequent years, national sports federations in Qatar started to request for membership of their respective International Federations (IFs). However, in order to participate in the Olympics, the Qatar National Olympic Committee (QOC) should be established. Thus, in 1979, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) received a letter announcing the establishment of the QOC. After got its recognition in 1980, the QOC was eligible to send athletes to the Olympics. Since that to date, one hundred and sixteen Qatari athletes have represented the country in eight Olympics, starting with the 1984 Los Angeles Games. From the governance side, until 2000 Sydney Games, QOC had four different presidents. On December, 12, 2000, H.H. Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani took the leadership of the QOC. Two years later H.H. Sheikh Tamim was appointed as the first and until today the only IOC member from Qatar. In 2012 London Games, Qatar sent its first women delegation with four athletes in different sports. In its whole Olympic history, Qatar won four bronzes in different male sports. The idea of having athletes in the opening ceremony of an Olympic Games and raising the national flag of the country can be seen as a strategy of the government to assert their national autonomy on global stage (Tomlinson, 2006). In this sense, the Olympics were used by Qatar to win international recognition (Houlihan, 2005) and to create a national representation though sport. The study is based on the theories of Cultural History (Green, 2008), National Identity (Smith, 2009) and Imagined Community (Anderson, 2006). The primary sources used in this paper are official documents, letters and telegrams from IOC, the IFs and the Official Gazette of the State of Qatar. This study is the academic result of the research conducted by the 3-2-1 Qatar Olympic & Sports Museum into the history of Qatar in the Olympic Games in preparation of "Olympics: Past and Present Exhibition" which took place in Doha, Qatar from March until June, 2013.


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