Two athletes are set to compete at the Olympic Games in London without representing a nation.
Philipine van Aanholt (above) and Reginald de Windt (below, left) are attending the Games as Independent Olympic Participants.
Photo: Curacao SportThey are both from the Netherlands Antilles, but following the dissolution of the islands in 2011, the Netherlands Antilles Olympic Committee had their membership of the International Olympic Committee withdrawn.
That left Olympic-standard athletes without a nation to compete for in London.
The Olympic spirit, however, is to encourage participation, and as such the duo will be present under the Olympic flag.
It will be the third time in history that Independent Olympic Participants will feature at the Games.
In 1992, athletes from the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the Republic of Macedonia were allowed to compete under the Olympic flag while political circumstances meant the nations themselves could not compete. Fifty-eight competitors travelled to Barcelona, winning one silver and two bronzes between them.
In 2000, four athletes from East Timor were allowed to compete under the same rules.
Whether the two Dutch Antilleans will manage to find their way to the podium remains to be seen.
Judoka De Windt, 27, comes from Curacao and is ranked 222nd in the world in the -81kg division.
Laser radial sailor Van Aanholt, 19, has a better chance, however — she is climbing the sailing ranks fast and has risen to a career-best 46th in the current world standings.
The Olympic flag