Bulgaria's 24-man team at the Paris 1924 Olympic Games included Vladimir STOYCHEV, who competed in the dressage and three-day event. He later became an IOC member in Bulgaria and lived to the age of 98. The team who went to the Helsinki 1952 Olympic Games were the first from Bulgaria to include women.
The NOC's first gold medal was won by wrestler Nickola STANCHEV in 1956 in the freestyle middleweight. As well as wrestling, the Bulgarians have traditionally been strong in athletics, rowing and weightlifting.
In athletics, high jumper Stefka KOSTADINOVA crowned her third Olympic Games, in Atlanta in 1996, with a first gold medal. She had previously taken silver at the Seoul 1988 Olympic Games.
Hurdler Yordanka DONKOVA was the other star performer on the track for Bulgaria. She also competed in three Olympic Games, winning gold in 1988 and bronze in Barcelona four years later.
The Bulgarians have also enjoyed success in women's rowing. Svetla OTZETOVA and Zdravka YORFANOVA won gold in the women's double sculls at the Montreal 1976 Olympic Games. Rumyana DIMITROVA DZHADZHAROVA-NEYKOVA completed a full set of medals with a gold in the women's single sculls at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.
Twenty years earlier at Mexico 1968, canoeist Vanya GESHEVA TSVETKOVA collected gold, silver and bronze in women's canoeing. Pistol shooter Mariya GROZDEVA won gold in women's sporting pistol at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games and retained the title at Athens 2004. She also claimed three bronze medals to make her the most successful Bulgarian competitor.
Although Bulgaria have not yet hosted the Olympic Games, they have staged IOC Sessions and also the 1973 Olympic Congress in Varna.