When Faroe Islanders have competed in the Olympics, they have done so under the Danish flag. The Faroe Islands have now reignited a 40-year-old campaign to compete as an independent country at the Olympics.
The Faroese Olympic Committee believes it has a really strong case for Olympic recognition and has launched a campaign which aims to achieve recognition within the next five years.
The 18 islands in the North Atlantic, with a population of 50,000, have been a self-governing country within the Kingdom of Denmark since 1948. The islands, which are geographically closest to Iceland, Scotland and Norway, control all key domestic matters, have their own parliament, flag and passport, and are not part of the Schengen Area, unlike Denmark.
“The Danish National Olympic Committee (NOC) is fully behind us, as are other Nordic NOCs, but at the moment, we find ourselves in an Olympic no-man’s land,” says Jon Hestoy, vice-president of the Faroese Olympic Committee.
The Faroese Confederation of Sports was established in 1939, with an Olympic Committee introduced in 1982. The Faroe Islands is a founding member of the International Paralympic Committee and has competed in every Paralympic Summer Games since 1984.
Sport on the islands is all self-funded, with no sports funding from Denmark.
The islands are recognised by eight international federations and compete internationally in archery, badminton, football, handball, judo, swimming, table tennis and volleyball. The Faroe Islands is also recognised by international organisations such as Unesco and the International Maritime Organisation.
“All we want is the same opportunity to compete in the Olympic Games under our own flag,” Hestoy added. “We believe we have a really strong case for Olympic recognition which we look forward to presenting to the IOC.”
Follow the official Twitter account of the Faroese Confederation of Sports and Olympic Committee, @FaroeOlympic, to keep up to date with news and information about the campaign and sport in the Faroe Islands in general.
Words: Levi Hanssen (faroeislands.fo)
Pic: Faroese Olympic Committee