What Do the Olympic Rings Symbolize?
Toyota is the proud mobility partner of the 2018 United States Olympic team and we have already seen some amazing athletic feats in the first weekend of competition. U.S. Olympians Red Gerard and Jamie Anderson have already won gold medals in Slopestyle Snowboarding and many more medals will be awarded as 92 nations compete in 102 events over 17 days. And the one unifying flag being flown over all activities is the iconic five-ring Olympic flag, but what do the Olympic rings symbolize?
History of the Olympic Rings
The interlocking rings of the Olympic flag was created by Baron Pierre de Coubertin, the co-founder of the modern Olympic games. The five rings represented the five participating continents of the time: Africa, Asia, America, Europe, and Oceania. While the colors of the five rings, blue, yellow, black, green, and red together with the white background of the flag could compose the colors of every nation’s flag at the time of its inception as the official Olympic symbol in 1915. This is what the inventor, Baron Pierre de Coubertin, had to say about his Olympic symbol in 1931.
“The Olympic flag has a white background, with five interlaced rings in the centre: blue, yellow, black, green and red. This design is symbolic; it represents the five continents of the world, united by Olympism, while the six colours are those that appear on all the national flags of the world at the present time.”
The first ever Olympic Flag was presented to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) at the 1920 Summer Olympics in Antwerp, Belgium. This flag was lost after the 1920 games and replaced for the 1924 Summer Olympics in Paris, and that same flag flew over the Summer Olympic games until 1988 when it was retired. In 1997, the original “Antwerp Flag” was discovered in Hal Prieste’s suitcase and returned to the IOC in a ceremony at the 2000 Sydney Olympics by a 103-year-old Prieste.