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Bulgaria at the 2016 Summer Olympics

Bulgaria competed at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from 5 to 21 August 2016. Bulgaria made their official debut at the 1896 Summer Olympics in Athens. Bulgarian athletes had appeared in every edition of the Summer Olympics since 1924, except for three different occasions: the 1948 Summer Olympics in London, and the 1932 and 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles because of the worldwide Great Depression, Bulgaria's actions in WW2 and the Soviet boycott, respectively.

Bulgaria at the
2016 Summer Olympics
Flag of Bulgaria.svg
NOCBulgarian Olympic Committee (in Bulgarian) (in English)
in Rio de Janeiro
Competitors51 in 14 sports
Flag bearerIvet Lalova (opening)[1]
Mihaela Maevska (closing)
Ranked 65th
Summer Olympics appearances (overview)

The Bulgarian Olympic Committee fielded a team of 51 athletes, 29 men and 22 women, across 14 sports at the Games.[2][3] It was the nation's smallest delegation sent to the Olympics since 1956, due to the absence of the men's volleyball squad and the ban of 11 weightlifters over a widespread doping offense.[4][5] Track and field and wrestling accounted for the largest number of athletes on the Bulgarian squad with 11 entries, nearly half of the nation's full roster size. There was only a single competitor each in road cycling, fencing, and modern pentathlon (the country's return to the sport at the Olympic Games after 16 years).

Sixteen Bulgarian athletes competed at London 2012, including four members of the rhythmic gymnastics squad (led by Mihaela Maevska-Velichkova, Albanian-born Elis Guri in Greco-Roman wrestling, pistol shooter and 2015 European Games silver medalist Antoaneta Boneva, and the country's fastest sprinter and two-time European champion Ivet Lalova-Collio in both the women's 100 and 200 metres. Heading to her fourth straight Olympics as the most experienced competitor, Lalova-Collio was selected by the committee to carry the Bulgarian flag at the opening ceremony, the second time by a female in the nation's Summer Olympic history.[1]

Bulgaria returned home from Rio de Janeiro with only three medals (one silver and two bronze), marking a slight improvement from the nation's overall tally at the previous Games.[6] All of Bulgaria's medalists were women for the first time in history; a silver to high jumper Mirela Demireva, and a bronze each to the rhythmic gymnastics troupe in the group all-around and freestyle wrestler Elitsa Yankova in the women's 48 kg.[7][8]