The Symbols of The Olympic Games

Opening CeremonyThe Winter Olympic Games are under way in Sochi. The opening ceremonies were stunning; the competitions have been entertaining. The Sochi games, as with Olympics past, have some very familiar symbols; easy recognizable to most people around the globe. You’re probably already thinking of a few symbols as you read this. I thought I’d explore some of the common symbols of the Olympic Games. Hopefully, you’ll learn something new and interesting along the way; I hope you enjoy this review and “go Team USA!” (opening ceremonies photo: NBC News)

Tourch lightThe Olympic Torch: few Olympic symbols are more recognizable than the Olympic torch. The flame itself is said to represent, among other things, purity and the pursuit of perfection.  In ancient Greece, the flame was ignited and kept burning until the closing of the Olympic Games, as is true in modern Olympics. The flame first appeared in modern Olympics in 1928.

Tourch lightThe journey of the Olympic torch from Greece to the host city is a long-standing tradition dating back to 1936. The Olympic flame is lit at the ancient site of Olympia, Greece by women wearing robes similar to what was common in ancient Greece. The torch is lit using a curved mirror that reflects sunlight. The Olympic torch is then passed from runner to runner, from the ancient site of Olympia, to the Olympic stadium in the hosting city.  The torch is passed along on to various athletes, celebrities, public officials and other citizens of the host country to the location of the latest Olympic Games. When the Olympic torch arrives at its destination, the final torch bearer lights the Olympic flame to signal the start of the Olympic Games.

Tourch RunIt has been reported about 14,000 torchbearers were involved with the Sochi torch replay in Russia, and and estimated 130 million Russians were able to see the torch. A map of the Sochi 2014 torch relay, with car journeys marked with white, plane journeys with blue and train journeys with red,  is shown above (Picture: The Siberian Times). That’s a whole lot of relay!

RingsThe Olympic Rings: perhaps the most recognizable symbols of the Olympic Games is the five interlocking colored rings, most commonly seen on the white Olympic flag. Each of the five rings has a unique color: blue, black, red, yellow and green. Every nation’s flag has at least one of these colors present. Pierre de Coubertin created this symbol in 1912; it represents our world’s five major contents from which Olympic athletes compete. The rings interlock as a sign of the friendships created between the competitors. The official Olympic flag, featuring this symbol on a white background, first flew in 1920.

MedalsThe Olympic Medals: we’re all aware athletes compete for medals; there are gold, silver, and bronze medals for athletes (or teams) who finish their event in first, second, and third place position.  The reverse side of an Olympic medal typically bears a design commemorative  to the city hosting the Olympic Games.  The Sochi medals are pictured above. Here’s an interesting fact: the last gold medals, made entirely of gold, were awarded in 1912. Visit the Today Show’s website,, here for more fun Sochi Olympic medal facts.

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Thanks for reading!

1 Comment

Filed under Fun, Traditions

One Response to The Symbols of The Olympic Games

  1. Ruth Hughes

    The bag of nuts I ordered for Xmas were stale and very much a disappointment.

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