Olympic Games Flag History

Aug 18th, 2016

The Olympic flag is one of the symbols that give the Olympic Games an identity. The flag consists of five rings of different colors on a white field. The colors have no meaning.


Olympic Flag


Pierre de Coubertin, a citizen of France, was the founder of the International Olympic Committee. He is widely acclaimed as the “father” of the modern Olympic Games. The games were re-established in 1896 in Greece. Although Coubertin had meant for the games to be an international event, it was not until 1912 that participants from all five continents attended.


In 1913, Coubertin drew five rings, colored the outline of each one in a different color, and used it on the top of his letterhead.  In 1914, Coubertin presented the idea of an Olympic flag using the five rings to the Olympic Congress. He proposed that the rings would encourage world unity of the five continents. The rings that Coubertin used are arranged somewhat different from the rings used in the Olympic flag today, but all five rings are still present.


By 1920, the Olympic Flag that was designed by Coubertin was placed in the stadium during the opening ceremonies of the games. It was not until 1960 that the flag was actually carried into the stadium rather than simply being placed in by cadets in uniforms at the opening of the games. That practice continued until 1971 when a decision was made to have athletes carry the flag rather than cadets. Today, once the flag is carried into the stadium it is raised on a flagpole. It remains in that position until the day of the closing ceremony. The lowering of the Olympic Games flag signals the end of the games.


The International Olympic Committee, IOC, has set down strict rules on the use of the Olympic flag symbol. It cannot be used with any other type of design without the express permission of the IOC.


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