Olympic Symbol – The Five Iconic Rings

Olympic Symbol – The Five Iconic Rings

The symbol of the Olympic Games is one of the most well recognized symbols in the world. It comprises of five intersecting rings of different and vivid colors; blue, black, red, yellow and green. Designed by none other than Baron Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the Modern Olympic Games, the five rings represent the five different regions in the world which took to “Olympism” when the games were reinstated in the year 1896.

Robert Barney, the famous American historian, published an article in the magazine “Olympic Revue”, which is the official magazine of the IOC, in the year 1992. In the article, Barney explained that the idea of five intersecting rings must have come to the Baron’s mind when he was the president of the Union des Sociétés Françaises de Sports Athlétiques, the body responsible for representing France at the IOC. The body was also founded because of the union of 2 different sports bodies and its logo, therefore, consisted of two intersecting rings. The idea behind the rings was given by well known Swiss psychiatrist, Carl Jung, for whom a ring symbolized the human being and continuity.

Pierre De Coubertin said that the colors of the rings and the white background symbolize those colors which were present on the flags of all countries in the world at that time. The 1914 Olympic Congress was the event in which this symbol and the subsequent flag were to be adopted. However, it was cancelled because of World War I, which broke out in the summer of 1914. The symbol and the flag were later adopted and debuted at the 1920 Summer Olympics in Antwerp, Belgium.

During the build-up to the 1936 Summer Olympics, the Olympic Symbol was seen on a large scale for the first time. It became increasingly popular amongst the masses. The head of the Organizing Committee, Carl Diem, wished to organize a torchbearers’ ceremony in the Delphi stadium, where the historic Pythian Games were held. It was for this that he ordered a milestone to be built, with the Olympic symbol engraved on its sides. However, even after the ceremony was concluded, this milestone remained as it is and was spotted by two English authors years later. The authors later wrote that the origination of the Olympic Symbol took place in ancient Greece.

The contemporary IOC believes that the Olympic Rings reinforce the idea that the Olympic Movement welcomes all the countries to join and is truly international.


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