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Wikipedia, where do the Olympic rings come from?


Meaning, what is the significance of the design? I was asked this the other day and thought I recalled from some cobwebby place in my memory that the colors represented all the colors from the flags of the participating nations, but I couldn’t come up with an explanation for the rings themselves. Nor would I have staked my life on my thought about the nations’ flags’ colors. So today I decided to see what Wikipedia had to say about the matter. So says the sources contributing to Wikipedia:

“”…the six colours [including the flag’s white background] thus combined reproduce the colours of all the nations, with no exception. The blue and yellow of Sweden, the blue and white of Greece, the tri- colours of France, England and America, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Hungary, the yellow and red of Spain next to the novelties of Brazil or Australia, with old Japan and new China. Here is truly an international symbol.”

In his article published in the “Olympic Revue” the official magazine of the International Olympic Committee in November 1992, the American historian Robert Barney explains that the idea of the interlaced rings came to Pierre de Coubertin when he was in charge of the USFSA, an association founded by the union of two French sports associations and until 1925, responsible for representing the International Olympic Committee in France: The emblem of the union was two interlaced rings (like the vesica piscis typical interlaced marriage rings) and originally the idea of Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung: for him, the ring symbolized continuity and the human being.”

Yet another interesting and reputable article I read (NY Times) suggested that the symbol”s designer, de Coubertin, may have been inspired by tire ads from his day… hey, we all know that inspiration can come from the strangest places.

In conclusion,yaaaay, the Olympics! I hope this has been enlightening 😛


Article sources: Wikipedia and NYTimes (posted with R in mind)

Photo source: Jeremy Selwyn/London Evening Standard


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