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With the Olympics almost upon us, I came across some interesting information regarding the history behind the Olympic symbol today. In an article on Mental Floss they explain the story about the origination of the Olympic rings that are all too familiar to us. According to the article, a French aristocrat who was originally behind the revival of the ancient Olympic games drew a symbol that appeared at the top of letterhead he used. The symbol was five rings that bore five different colors. Coubertin explained the symbolism behind his design to mean that the five rings symbolized the five continents and the colors of the rings and the white background compile all the different colors found on flags of the nations of the world. The interlocking nature of the rings is said to symbolize the spirit of Olympism. Although the symbol appeared first on the personal correspondence of its designer, it made its official debut at the 1920 Olympic games in Antwerp, Belgium. There is also some speculation, according to the article, that Coubertin may have intended to reference the five first Olympic games that had been held prior to the introduction of the Olympic ring symbol.
Usage of the Olympic symbol is highly regulated by the IOC. There are specific rules about the reproduction of the rings and colors that can be used. For the complete article on Mental Floss’s site, please click here.
I am sure that in the coming days we will see plenty of these rings and the spirit of friendly competition that they
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