Kosovo is populated largely by people of Albanian descent, and the region attempted to gain independence with the break-up of Yugoslavia in 1992. The conflict with Serbia came to a head in 1999, when NATO intervened and the area eventually came under United Nations administration. The Republic of Kosovo declared its independence of Serbia in 2008, which has met with broad but far from universal recognition (recognized by 100 of 193 United Nations’ member states as of September 2020). Apart from Serbia, notable opponents of Kosovo’s independence have been Russia, China, and India.
The National Olympic Committee (NOC) was formed in 1992 and officially established in 2003. Attempts to join the Olympic Movement were held off by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) through 2014. A request for Kosovo’s athletes to compete in London as Independent Olympic Athletes was declined, which forced Kosovo’s top athlete, judoka Majlinda Kelmendi, to represent Albania. She would later win world titles in 2013 (for Kosovo) and 2014 (representing the International Judo Federation), and would compete for Kosovo in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, where she won a gold medal.
At the IOC Extraordinary Session in Monaco, on 9 December 2014, the Kosovo National Olympic Committee was officially recognized by the IOC, after the Executive Committee had provided provisional recognition in October 2014, despite Serbian protests. Kosovo made its Olympic début at Rio in 2016, with eight competitors in five sports, and also competed at the 2020 Olympic Games (with eleven athletes).
To the medal won by Kelmendi in 2016, two Kosovar judokas added two more Olympic titles at Tokyo 2020: Distria Krasniqi in the extra-lightweight class, and Nora Gjakova in the lightweight class. Therefore, through 2022, all Kosovar medals have been won by women, and were all gold.
Kosovo also competed at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games, represented by one male Alpine skier, Albin Tahiri. Tahiri returned at Beijing 2022, achieving the 15th place in the combined event, the best result to date for the nation. This time, Tahiri was accompanied by a female Alpine Skier, Kiana Kryeziu, who competed in the giant slalom.