Watching the Olympics, I came across an athlete, Kylie Rae Dickson, representing Belarus. However, she was American and the commentator briefly touched on how she had no Belarus heritage. I did a quick Google search and found this on Dickson's Wikipedia article:

"She competed for Belarus at the 2015 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships, with club teammate Alaina Kwan. Neither she nor Kwan had familial ties to Belarus or had visited when they acquired Belarussian citizenship and competition rights."

How can an athlete with no ties to a country (say, Belarus) still compete for them?

2 Answers 2


The Olympics, in general, only requires an athlete to be a citizen of their country for them to be eligible to compete under their flag.

The Olympic charter states the following:

41 Nationality of competitors*

  1. Any competitor in the Olympic Games must be a national of the country of the NOC which is entering such competitor.
  2. All matters relating to the determination of the country which a competitor may represent in the Olympic Games shall be resolved by the IOC Executive Board.

I think this depends on the sport association and what it's rules are.

We have Chinese table tennis players that are associated with the USATT (United States Table Tennis). They represent America in the Olympics but they weren't born here and (probably) don't have citizenship.

Maybe some associations require country citizenship, maybe not.

  • The question is explicitly about Olympic regulations, which will take precedence over what any association wants to do. The other answer makes clear that citizenship is a necessity for entry under the NOC.
    – Nij
    Commented Aug 9, 2016 at 3:25

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