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The representation of olympic experience in the olympic rings

What Do the Olympic Rings Mean?

The congress agreed on proposals for a modern Olympics, and the International Olympic Committee was soon formalized and given the task of planning the 1896 Athens Games. After the 1912 Stockholm Games—the first Games featuring athletes from all five inhabited parts of the world—a design of five interlocked rings, drawn and colored by hand, appeared at the top of a letter Coubertin sent to a colleague.

Coubertin used his ring design as the emblem of the IOC's 20th anniversary celebration in 1914. A year later, it became the official Olympic symbol. The rings were to be used on flags and signage at the 1916 Games, but those games were canceled because of the ongoing World War. The rings made a belated debut at the 1920 Games in Antwerp, Belgium. Coubertin explained his design in 1931: He never said nor wrote that any specific ring represents a specific continent.

Because the rings were originally designed as a logo for the IOC's 20th anniversary and only later became a symbol of the Olympics, it's also probable, according to historian David Young, that Coubertin originally thought of the rings as symbols of the five Games already successfully staged. Popular myth and an academic article has it that the rings were inspired by a similar, ancient design found on a stone at Delphi, Greece.

For the 1936 Summer Games in Berlin, Carl Diem, president of the organizing committee, wanted to relay the Olympic Flame from its lighting point in Olympia to the Olympic stadium in Berlin. Diem, it seems, had a flair for theatrics, and included in the relay a stop at Delphi's ancient stadium for a faux-ancient Greek torchbearers' ceremony complete with a faux-ancient, 3-foot-tall stone altar with the modern ring design chiseled into its sides.

After the ceremony, the torch runners went on their way, but no one ever removed the stone from the stadium.

  1. The inspiration for Coubertin's design seems to be a little more modern. Two decades later, British researchers visiting Delphi noticed the ring design on the stone.
  2. The Union was formed from the merging of two smaller sporting bodies, and to symbolize this, a logo of two interlocking rings—one red and one blue, on a white background—was created and displayed on the uniforms of USFSA athletes. Coubertin used his ring design as the emblem of the IOC's 20th anniversary celebration in 1914.
  3. Popular myth and an academic article has it that the rings were inspired by a similar, ancient design found on a stone at Delphi, Greece.
  4. For the 1936 Summer Games in Berlin, Carl Diem, president of the organizing committee, wanted to relay the Olympic Flame from its lighting point in Olympia to the Olympic stadium in Berlin.
  5. Two decades later, British researchers visiting Delphi noticed the ring design on the stone. After the ceremony, the torch runners went on their way, but no one ever removed the stone from the stadium.

Two decades later, British researchers visiting Delphi noticed the ring design on the stone. They concluded that the stone was an ancient altar, and thought the ring design had been used in ancient Greece and now formed "a link between ancient and modern Olympics.

The inspiration for Coubertin's design seems to be a little more modern. The Union was formed from the merging of two smaller sporting bodies, and to symbolize this, a logo of two interlocking rings—one red and one blue, on a white background—was created and displayed on the uniforms of USFSA athletes. Circles, after all, connote wholeness, the interlocking of them, continuity.

  • Because the rings were originally designed as a logo for the IOC's 20th anniversary and only later became a symbol of the Olympics, it's also probable, according to historian David Young, that Coubertin originally thought of the rings as symbols of the five Games already successfully staged;
  • Diem, it seems, had a flair for theatrics, and included in the relay a stop at Delphi's ancient stadium for a faux-ancient Greek torchbearers' ceremony complete with a faux-ancient, 3-foot-tall stone altar with the modern ring design chiseled into its sides;
  • Coubertin explained his design in 1931;
  • A year later, it became the official Olympic symbol.

The area covered by the Olympic symbol the rings contained in an Olympic emblem e. This article originally appeared in 2010.