Mythbusters: An SNOC edition

10 Apr 2019

By Justin Kor

1. The Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) is a part of the Singapore Government.

Debunked: Contrary to popular belief, SNOC is actually a non-profit and non-governmental organisation that has been sending athletes to compete at the Olympic Games even before the Singapore flag had five stars and a crescent. Although we have been headed by a Cabinet Minister since 1970, we are not part of the Singapore Government. We were formed by British colonial officials in 1947 and supported by volunteers since.

We even went through a name change in our storied history. Before we became SNOC in 1970, we were the Singapore Olympic and Sports Council. Which sounds snazzier?

The SOSC letterhead in 1966


2. SNOC handles only the Olympic Games, and not the other major Games


Debunked:  Our name may be the Singapore National Olympic Council, but that doesn’t mean we’re only in charge of the Olympics. In fact, we also handle other major multi-sport events like the Asian Games, Commonwealth Games, and the South-east Asian Games.

For example, in 2018, we went to four countries: South Korea (Winter Olympic Games); Australia (Commonwealth Games); Indonesia (Asian Games); and Argentina (Youth Olympic Games). Our contingent size ranged from 246 athletes at the Asian Games to just a single speed skater at the Winter Olympic Games.

This year, we’ll be heading to the Philippines for the SEA Games. Remember to show your support for our athletes!

Team Singapore at the 2018 Commonwealth Games

3. National Sports Associations (NSA) fall under the jurisdiction of SNOC

Debunked: Just like SNOC, all NSAs are also independent bodies. These associations play a very important part as they are in charge of the development of their respective sport in Singapore. They also groom young sports talent, and keeping an eye out for their development to become potential representatives of Singapore.

So how does SNOC work with NSAs? We coordinate the selection of athletes at major Games with them. In addition, the NSAs have a crucial role in allowing us to understand more about these competitors that fall under our responsibility during major Games, as they know their own athletes best. It’s all about cooperation in the sporting fraternity, so that our athletes can do the best they can when representing Singapore.

Our colleagues from our member NSAs at the SNOC AGM in 2017

4. SNOC is an official Olympic merchandise office.

Debunked: Unfortunately, we’re not a Golden Village or Cathay Cineplex that sells tickets to the Olympic Games. Nor are we like a Disneyland or Universal Studios gift shop hawking Olympic merchandise.

Our responsibility is to send and take care of our athletes at major Games and to represent Singapore in the International Olympic Committee. If you’d like tickets to future major Games, try Kingdom Sports Group, our official ticketing partner which is currently offering packages to Tokyo 2020.

5. The Paralympics / Special Olympics is under SNOC.

Debunked: The Paralympics and Special Olympics do not fall under the jurisdiction of SNOC. Instead, our friends at the Singapore National Paralympic Council and the Special Olympics Singapore respectively take charge of these Games. Let’s put it this way – we’re all siblings in a family whose sole purpose is to get our athletes to pursue their dreams of sporting excellence. (Check out the good work they do!)

6. SNOC is the same as SportSG

Although we often work together, SportSG and SNOC are not affiliated with each other. Just like the NSAs, SportsSG also plays a crucial role for our athletes. For instance, they are in charge of the many sporting facilities where our athletes train at, such as stadiums and swimming complexes. At major Games, staff from SportSG join us in supporting our athletes. The teams at the Singapore Sports Institute and National Youth Sports Institute look after the athletes’ high performance needs to ensure that they are in ready competition form at the Games.

Because of our close working connections, we share the same office space! SNOC is tucked into a small space on the first floor within the compound of the SportSG office at the Singapore Sports Hub, with double white door marking our presence.

Here’s a little piece of trivia for you: we used to be based at the old Sports House at Farrer Park, until it was burned down in 1985. This marked our move to the National Stadium, where we are until today.

The Sports House at Farrer Park was home to many sports organisations including the SNOC. The building was perished in a fire in 1985. (Photo: SportSG)

7. SNOC is a large organisation, with many full-time paid staff.

Debunked: It cannot be further from the truth. Here’s a clue. We have as many full-time staff as you have as many fingers on your hand. That’s right – five. It’s just five of us in the office. The key appointment holders are mostly volunteers. But do not worry. It’s quality, not quantity that counts. We may be a small team, but we get the work done. And most importantly for any office, our pantry is well stocked to feed us all!