Do You Know About The Olympic Rings Meaning? Get To Know About It

Sridevi Tolety
May 30, 2024 By Sridevi Tolety
Originally Published on Dec 22, 2021
Edited by Sarah Nyamekye
Fact-checked by Nishtha Dixit
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Each game in Olympics has a different medal! Click here to know the Olympic rings' meaning, logo, history, and more!



Did you ever notice that if someone mentions five interlaced rings on a white background, we immediately remember the Olympic symbol or flag?

The Olympic Games are the most prestigious and significant sporting event, with athletes participating from around the world. It is not an exaggeration to say that it is the dream of all athletes to win an Olympic medal and see their country's flag rise along with the blue, green, black, yellow, and red rings of the Olympic flag.

Olympics means the sport's competitions are organized at Olympia every four years, thus acquiring the name of the Olympic Games. Did you know that the Olympic Games were not the only games conducted by Greeks?

They also held the Pythian Games, the Nemean Games, and the Isthmian Games, and similar events were held across 150 cities in ancient Greece, Rome, Odessa, and Naples.

Have we intrigued you until now? If you would like to read more interesting topics, then explore our other articles, such as summer Olympics facts and winter Olympics facts.

History Of Olympics

The Olympic rings, the Olympic symbol, and the Olympic movement have an interesting history and reason.

The red, blue, green, yellow, and black color rings on a white background in the Olympic symbol have a lot of meaning and significance. As per the official version, each of the Olympic rings represents one of the five continents.

The uniqueness of the Olympic symbol is that at least one of the colors of national flags of participating countries can be seen in the six colors combined (five Olympic rings colors and white background)

The Greeks commenced Olympic games as part of a religious ritual in honor of Zeus, King of Greek Gods. The rituals were conducted at Olympia near the city of Elis, which was considered a residence of Zeus.

The first known Olympics event was conducted in 776 BC and was held every four years after that. It used to be a one-day affair with only one event, a foot race for 192 m (0.19 km).

As per some records, the first Olympic Champion was Coroebus, a cook from Elis.

In 724 BC, a second race was added, and it was twice the length at 400 m (0.4 km). A long-distance race for a distance of 1500-5000 m (1.5-5 km) was added in the next Olympic Games.

With increased participation from Sparta, events like long jump, discus and javelin throw, wrestling, pankrathon (a combination of martial arts, boxing, and wrestling), and chariot racing were added. With the increase in the number of events, the duration of the games too increased to five days.

During these days, the city of Elis turned into a manic center where anybody who wanted audience and attention would come here. So it was not only participants- artists, poets, philosophers would come here and display their skills and capabilities.

Men would compete in the nude, and there were strict guidelines to ensure that there were no malpractices or false starts. The rewards they got were recognition and fame, and women were restricted from participating or attending any events.

After Rome took control of Greece, their support towards the Olympic Games gradually decreased due to cultural differences and religious ideologies. And eventually, after 12 centuries since they began, Roman Emperor Theodosius I banned ancient Olympic Games, terming them as pagan festivals.

The Greeks tried to revive the Olympic Games in the 1800s with no success. The modern Olympics was envisioned by a French historian, educator, and reformist, Pierre Baron de Coubertin, who wanted to add sports to education to give balanced growth to both body and mind.

He organized the first Congress of Physical Education and Scholar Competition in Paris in 1889. With determination and persistence, he gathered support from countries like France, England, Russia, Greece, Spain, Italy, Belgium, and United States.

Finally, in the year 1894, he was able to convene International Sports Congress. All the countries unanimously agreed to revive the Olympic Games and created an organizing committee; thus, modern Olympic games started.

The first modern Olympic Games were started in Athens, Greece, in 1896, followed by Paris, France, in 1900. Initially, nine sporting events were conducted.

The number of participating countries and events increased with every Olympic game conducted every four years. The Winter Olympic Games were further added in 1924, and a separate venue was decided to conduct these winter games like skiing, figure and ice skating, luge, and the bobsled.

The Olympic Games have survived two world wars, terrorist attacks, boycotts, pandemics, and politics. They are still the sought-after avenue for athletes around the world to compete and gain popularity and recognition.

Features Of The Olympics

Were you aware that the Olympic flag was used for the first time in the 1920 Olympics Games held in Antwerp to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Olympic Games? Coubertin's original flag was not found at the end of the games, and a new flag was made for The Paris Olympics in 1924.

Though this was a replacement, it was still referred to as the Antwerp flag.

The modern Olympic Games have three core values - excellence, friendship, and respect. And from these three core values, five education values have been derived.

They are the joy of effort, fair play, practicing respect, the pursuit of excellence, and balance. The Olympic flag encompasses these values in them.

The founder of the modern Olympics, Pierre, Baron de Coubertin, the flag consists of six colors. The flag has a white background with five interlocking rings of the same size and width, three on top and two below them.

The five rings on the white background represent five continents.

Each specific continent refers to a specific ring though it is not known which of the rings represent which of those five continents. It has to be noted that North and South America are considered as a single continent, and Antarctica is excluded as it is uninhabited, and there is no representation from there.

The colors of the five rings are red, blue, black, green, and yellow. The five rings colors combined represent the colors of all the national flags in the world.

Coubertin's original flag has undergone a few subtle changes like interlaced rings or changes in the color's tone. However, it still reflects the motto and values that the Olympic movement represents.

Countries In The Olympics

The Olympic Games in the present time are considered a global event with participation from most of the countries in the world. True to the Olympic charter, which specifies that the games are open to all countries, these games have the highest participation of athletes and attendees, generating tourism and fame to the host countries.

The Berlin Olympics in 1936 started the tradition of Olympic flame in which it is lit using the sun rays focused on a torch with a parabolic reflector.

The torch is carried from Olympia to the venue of the Olympic Games and is used to light the cauldron signifying the commencement of the games. This has gained immense popularity, and now the flame travels through many countries carried by sports persons, celebrities, popular leaders, and ordinary people.

The opening ceremonies, too, have become a grand event and represent the culture of the host city and country.

Each country has its own Olympic Committee, which coordinates with the International Olympic Committee for smooth conduct and participation of the event.

Have you ever wondered that every national flag includes at least one of the Olympic ring's colors?

Interesting Facts On The Olympic Rings Meaning

The Olympic flag was originally conceived and created in 1913, but due to the commencement of the first world war and the subsequent cancellation of the 1916 games, it was used in 1920.

The Olympic symbol, which is also used in its flag, has a white background with five interlaced rings.

The interlocked blue, black, red, yellow, and green rings represent the union of five continents - America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and Oceania (Australia) and the meeting of athletes.

The interlaced rings with five colors also represent the motto or five core values of the Olympics. There is no official version about which ring represents which value.

The Olympic symbol, also known as the Olympic rings, is a property of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and cannot be used in any other context other than Olympic Games unless authorized by IOC.

When necessary, monochrome Olympic rings can be used in the Olympic symbol instead of the five-color rings.

Did you know that the medal with the Olympic symbol is the most coveted medal for all athletes across the world?

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for do you know about the Olympic rings meaning? get to know about it, then why not take a look at facts about the Olympic torch or facts about the first Olympic Games.

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Written by Sridevi Tolety

Bachelor of Science specializing in Botany, Master of Science specializing in Clinical Research and Regulatory Affairs

Sridevi Tolety picture

Sridevi ToletyBachelor of Science specializing in Botany, Master of Science specializing in Clinical Research and Regulatory Affairs

With a Master's degree in clinical research from Manipal University and a PG Diploma in journalism from Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Sridevi has cultivated her passion for writing across various domains. She has authored a wide range of articles, blogs, travelogues, creative content, and short stories that have been published in leading magazines, newspapers, and websites. Sridevi is fluent in four languages and enjoys spending her spare time with loved ones. Her hobbies include reading, traveling, cooking, painting, and listening to music.

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Fact-checked by Nishtha Dixit

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English Literature

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Nishtha DixitBachelor of Arts specializing in English Literature

Nishtha is an experienced SEO writer and editor, with a passion for writing and self-expression. She is currently pursuing an undergraduate major in Literature and Communication and a minor in Political Science from the University of Delhi. Nishtha has completed a certificate master course in English from the British Council and has been appointed as the editor for the bi-monthly magazine of the University of Delhi.

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