At Tokyo 2020, for the first time, each NOC will have at least one male and one female athlete on their team.

 

Each NOC can also now nominate a male and female athlete to jointly carry the flag during the Opening Ceremony.

These two new measures build on the wider commitment from the IOC to reach complete gender parity at the Olympic Games.

Ever since the first 22 women participated in the Olympic Games in Paris 1900, the IOC has been making great strides towards achieving greater gender balance during Games-time – and the two measures introduced in 2019 took us another step closer.

Female athlete on every team in Tokyo

Building on the continuous effort of the IOC to bring a gender balance to the sport programme of the Olympic Games and Youth Olympic Games (YOG), there will be an expected new record of 48.8 per cent women’s participation at Tokyo 2020. Alongside this, a concerted effort has been made to ensure that, for the first time, all 206 NOCs would be represented by a minimum one male and female athlete.

The process applied is similar for the Olympic Games as it is for the YOG; following the sports entry deadline, the IOC will work on a case-by-case basis with the NOCs and International Federations to allocate additional out-of-quota places in individual sports (primarily in athletics and swimming).

Joint flagbearers

In addition, the IOC Executive Board amended the IOC Protocol guidelines to allow one female athlete and one male athlete of each NOC to carry their country’s flag jointly during the Opening Ceremony athletes’ parade. The NOCs remain responsible for nominating the male and female flagbearers and will continue to be encouraged to do this.

This opportunity dramatically amplifies the IOC’s message relating to the importance of gender quality and reinforces it directly with each competing NOC. It also gives more opportunities to female athletes, allowing them to benefit from one of the most iconic moments of the Games.


Ever since the first 22 women participated in the Olympic Games in Paris 1900, the IOC has been making great strides towards achieving greater gender balance during Games-time – and the two measures introduced in 2019 took us another step closer.

Do you have any questions about the two measures?