What is the significance of the Olympic rings?
Arguably the most iconic symbol of the modern Olympic Games, the Olympic rings were designed by Charles Pierre de Frédy, Baron de Coubertin in 1912 and publicly presented for the first time in 1913. By that stage, Baron de Coubertin was president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), having played a pivotal role in the revival of the Olympic Games in 1896.The Olympic flag, bearing the Olympic rings, was officially raised for the first time during the opening ceremony of the Games of the VII Olympiad in Antwerp, Belgium in 1920.
The full colour version of the design consists of five uniformly-sized, interlocked, coloured rings centred on a white background. From left to right, the Olympic rings are coloured blue, yellow, black, green and red; the blue, black and red rings are positioned at the top and the yellow and green rings at the bottom. According to Baron de Coubertin, ‘This design is symbolic; the five colours are those that appear on at least one of all the national flags of the world at the present time united by Olympism.’ According to the Olympic Charter, ‘The Olympic symbol expresses the activity of the Olympic Movement and represents the union of the five continents [Asia, Africa, North and South America, Europe and Australia] and the meeting of athletes from throughout the world at the Olympic Games.’