The Meaning of the Olympic Rings

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By Kristen Wagner

Thousands of athletes from around the world join together in this major sporting event to compete in a variety of different events and games ranging from curling, to gymnastics, to skiing, to bobsledding, and everything in between. This year we’re all engaged in the 2010 Winter Olympics which is being held in Vancouver, Canada.

During the Olympic season the Olympic rings seem to be everywhere. I know I’ve seen the colorful Olympic rings a lot this year, and the question has recently popped into my mind. What exactly do those Olympic rings symbolize?

There are five interlaced rings within the Olympic Games symbol. The rings are blue, yellow, black, green and red. According to, the rings were designed by Baron Pierre de Coubertin in 1912. They were representative of the five parts of the world: the Americas, Europe, Asia, Africa and Oceania. Antarctica was not considered at all in this design, and North and South America were seen as one continent.

No specific color represents a particular country. Actually, the colors don’t have any particular significance. Although, according to, the five colors of the Olympic rings and the white background have at least one color of every nation’s flag in them.

The five Olympic rings were adopted in 1914, and they were debuted at the Belgium Olympiad in 1920. According to, the flag has been flown in every Olympic event since then that has not been cancelled due to war.

According to, when the design was introduced in 1912, De Coubertin said, “These five rings represent the five parts of the world which now are won over to Olympism and willing to accept healthy competition.” De Coubertin is known today as the “Father of the modern day Olympics” as well as the “Founder of the International Olympic Committee.”

According to the International Olympic Committee, the rings represent that the Olympic Movement is an international campaign and that all of the countries around the world are welcome to join. The Olympic rings are viewed as just as important as the Olympic torch.

According to, the reason for the interlocking rings shows that the Olympic Games are intended for all nations to come together and compete in unity. They represent union, harmony and agreement in an event that is welcoming to the entire world. We are all interconnected and everyone can come together in the Olympic effort, and this is what the rings are meant to symbolize.


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