As the first week of the 2012 Olympics is ending, the familiar Olympic logo is everywhere. The 5 interlocking circles have identified the games since it was introduced in 1924. This summer they are the identity of London. They are suspended from The London Tower Bridge.
The first games were held in Paris in 1894, the motto in Latin was, "Citius, Altius Fortius" - translated, “Faster, Stronger, Higher “. This and the subsequesnt logo design were created by Baron Pierre de Coubertin, credited to be the father of the modern Olympic Games.
de Coubertin said in 1912 that it was an International emblem, “chosen to illustrate and represent the world Congress of 1914 ... five intertwined rings in different colours - blue, yellow, black, green, and red ... These five rings represent the five parts of the world ... willing to accept healthy competition. Blue stands for Europe, black for Africa,Red for the Americas, Yellow for Asia and, green for Oceania.” The colors also represent the colors in the flags of each participating country. The symbol is used to express the games, the opening ceremonies last week were lit up with rings of fireworks.
Today’s Olympic Charter states, “the Olympic symbol represents the union of the five regions of the world and the meeting of athletes from throughout the world at the Olympic Games.”
There was a myth claiming that the design was inspired by an ancient greek design that was found at the site of the first Olympics. The NYTimes reports that the "ancient" carving had been a film prop etched into stone for a Nazi film of the 1936 games.
The original logo to represent the London games was created by Kino Designs, with an Olympic-colored striped ribbon winding through the text, in the shape of the River Thames in East London, the site of the games.
Wolff Olins introduced a new logo in 2007 to replace it and brand the games. It represents the number 2012, with the Olympic rings embedded within the zero.
it's being used in various colors
The NYTimes wrote about graphic designer Sarah Hyndman’s, Olympic Logo A Day Project. The designer/blogger created a new set of rings in a year-long project, Olympic countdown: The Olympic Rings remade every day as we count down to London 2012
Hyndman's tasty and color correct post on Day 36
and patriotic post on Day 364
Looking ahead to the logo for the Winter 2014 games in Sochi, Russia
and Summer 2016 in Rio de Janeiro...
Interesting how this universal symbol was designed almost a century ago, the primary-colored logo is both simple and modern. It has been adapted for each Olympics, the Baron's clearly thought out symbol has become the enduring identity of the games.