Olympic Ring History

In 1894, a congress was held in Paris regarding the possible revival of the ancient Olympic Games. Proposals were put forward and accepted, and the International Olympic Committee was then established to oversee the planning of the 1896 Athens Games.

After the 1912 Stockholm Games, Pierre de Fredy, Baron Coubertin, sent to his colleague a letter containing the famous five interlocking Olympic rings. Coubertin also used the symbol as emblem during the IOC’s 20th anniversary in 1914. The five-ringed symbol then became the famous emblem of the Olympic games.

The rings were supposed to be used during the 1916 Games but did not make it to the flags as a result of the ongoing World Ward. The Olympic rings were then introduced at the 1920 Games in Antwerp, Belgium.

One myth that surrounds the origins of the rings is that they were inspired by a stone that can be found at Delphi, Greece. However, not all people know that such stone was just constructed as prop.

The story of this myth can be traced back in the 1936 Summer Games in Berlin, when Carl Diem wanted the games to be more dramatic by ordering the construction of the faux-ancient, 3-foot-tall stone altar.

After the Games in Berlin, the stone was left and was found twenty years later by British researchers who were currently visiting Delphi. Then, the story started that the Olympics basically started in ancient Greece.

Meanwhile, before Coubertin became a part of the Olympic congress, he served as president of the Union des Sociétés Francaises de Sports Athletiques (USFSA). The Union was first formed prior the revival of the modern Olympics, and its symbol included two interlocking rings colored in red and blue.

According to the historian Robert Barney, the connection between USFSA’s logo and that the Olympics can be obviously attributed to Coubertin, who was a member in both organizations.

The International Olympics Committee implements strict regulations regarding the use of the Olympic rings. For instance, the Olympic should be used a whole and not in part and cannot be modified in any way. Regulations should also be followed regarding the colors that may be used in reproduction of solid version or interlocking versions of the ring.

Olympic Rings

The five interlocking rings of the Olympic symbols are assumed to represent five continents: the Americas, Europe, Australia, Asia, and Africa. Meanwhile, the colors were decided by its creator, Pierre de Coubertin, in 1912. The colors supposedly represented the nations who were part of the Olympic games at that time.

However, Pierre did not want to combine the colors of the rings as he believed that the colors cannot truly represent each competing continent.

Yet, in this modern time, some people would argue that such principle does not apply anymore. For instance, some countries whose flags bear some of the colors indicated in the Olympic symbol are not really represented during the games. Thus, the interlocking feature of the rings and its colors cannot be considered an international symbol.

However, in the end, the Olympic symbol stands for the inspirations that led to the revival of the modern Olympic games.