Record 88 nations to participate in Winter Games

In this Thursday, Jan. 31, 2013 photo Sochi's Mayor Anatoly Pakhomov poses with count-down clock in Sochi. AP photo/Igor Yakunin

SOCHI, Russia – Athletes from 88 countries are set to compete in Sochi, a record for the Winter Olympics.

The IOC released the final list of national Olympic committees that will be participating in the Sochi Games, which open Friday.

The previous record was set at the 2010 Vancouver Games, where 82 national teams took part.

Among those competing in the Winter Games for the first time is the southern African nation of Zimbabwe, represented by Alpine skier Luke Steyn.

Togo and Morocco have also qualified.

Three athletes from India will be competing as “independent participants” under the Olympic flag. Their national Olympic committee remains suspended by the IOC pending election of new officials.

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