The Croatian Olympic Committee, the highest sports body in Croatia, was founded in Zagreb on 10 September 1991. The Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee led by its then President Juan Antonio Samaranch granted the Croatian Olympic Committee provisional recognition on 17 January 1992, thus including it in the Olympic family and making it possible for Croatian athletes to participate under the Croatian flag in the Olympic Winter Games in Albertville and in the Games of the Olympiad in Barcelona that very same year.
The IOC granted the Croatian Olympic Committee outright recognition at its 101st Session, held in Monaco on 24 September 1993. Since 1995, the Croatian Olympic Committee has been marking 17 January, the date of the provisional recognition by the IOC, as the Great Day of Croatian Sport.
The first President of the Croatian Olympic Committee was Antun Vrdoljak (1991 – 2000), who was appointed to the IOC at its 104th Assembly in Budapest in 1995. As an IOC Member, Antun Vrdoljak was appointed to the IOC Radio and Television Commission in 1996 and to the IOC Culture and Olympic Education Commission in 2006.
Since 2002, the President of the Croatian Olympic Committee has been Zlatko Matesa, a prominent sports official, who earned his doctoral degree in Organization of Olympic Games at the Beijing Sport University in 2008. Zlatko Matesa is a member of the EOC Executive Board (2009), the EOC Commission for the Preparation of the Olympic Games (2006) and the Executive Board of the International Mediterranean Games Committee (2009).
Members of the Croatian Olympic Committee are national sports associations (39 of them are Olympic and 38 non-Olympic sports), 20 county sports associations and the City of Zagreb and 9 associations and institutions of interest for Croatian sport and the activities of the Croatian Olympic Committee.
The Croatian Olympic Committee is a full member of the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC), the European Olympic Committees (EOC), the International Mediterranean Games Committee (ICMG) and the European Non-Governmental Sports Organizations (ENGSO).
The Croatian Olympic Committee is the founder of the Croatian Olympians Club (1993), the Croatian Olympic Academy (1996), the Sports Arbitration Council and Sports Arbitration Tribunal (1999), and the co-founder of the European Fair Play Movement (1994), the Croatian Athletes Foundation (2006), the Croatian Fair-Play Committee (2006), the Female Sports Coordinators Network (2006) and a number of other organizations belonging to the Croatian and international Olympic movement