What Does the Olympic Flag Represent?

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The white Olympic flag with its five colorful rings symbolizes the continents as well as individual nations. The continents represented are North and South America, Asia, Africa, Europe and Australia. North and South America are considered one continent for this purpose. The six colors – blue, black, red, yellow, green and white – symbolize the common colors on flags of nations that competed in the first five Olympics.

The colors of each ring do not represent one specific continent. The five rings may also symbolize the five Olympics that occurred before the flag’s introduction in 1914. The interlocked nature of the rings represents peace and harmony among nations.

Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the modern Olympic Games, designed the interlocking rings in 1913. The flag was created for the Olympic Jubilee Congress in 1914, with a gathering in Paris to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Olympic movement.

The flag flew in its first games during the 1920 Olympics in Antwerp. Athletes were so enthused about the flag they stole representations of the five-ring symbols displayed around the city. The police noticed, and several athletes were arrested, resulting in multiple consulates bailing out their countrymen and women. The flag is passed from one host city to another at the conclusion of each Olympics.