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Lord of the Rings: The History of the Olympic Logo

Many of us have been rushing home for the past few days to turn on the TV and tune into the Olympics. As ice skaters pirouette under dramatic lights and bobsledders careen down twisted tunnels of ice, the whole world is watching. And though there are many types of events that occur during this historical and exciting time, one single image represents it all—the Olympic Rings. So what is the meaning behind this infamous symbol and why is it so important?

The five interconnected circles were first designed in 1912 by Baron Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the modern Olympic games. As Coubertin explained in the August, 1912 edition of Revue Olympique, the rings were chosen to represent the five (inhabited) continents of the world: Americas, Europe, Asia, Africa and Oceania. The colors blue, yellow, black, green, red and white were also included in the design because they were present in each nation’s flag at the time.  The logo, which represents the world united, was adopted in 1914 and debuted at the Games at Antwerp in 1920.


Why is all of this  important? Languages, cultures and beliefs can create division throughout the world, but one thing that has the power to bring us all together is a logo. It doesn’t require a language to communicate and be understood. It rises above normal cultural barriers and creates a feeling, an emotion—an event. It generates momentum and excitement. And it tells a story…

These five simple rings are of great importance to every place and every person on this Earth. Isn’t it amazing that a little logo can have such a significant impact on the world?