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When we talk about the Olympic Games, the first symbol that comes to mind is the colored rings that appear in a different city every four years. However, these are not the only symbols of the Olympic Games, as the International Olympic Committee (IOC) uses other icons during the competition. If you keep on reading, you will find out all the Olympic Symbols.
“Citius, Altius, Fortius”, is the Olympic slogan, made up of Latin words, which means “faster, higher, stronger”. It was proposed by Baron Pierre de Coubertin, the creator of the modern Olympic Games in 1894, after the creation of the International Olympic Committee.
According to him, these words represent the morality of the competitions and are not a slogan for winning, but for participating.
They are the best-known Olympic symbols, also designed by Coubertin. They are five rings of different colors representing the five continents and can appear in the flag with a white background.
At least one of the five colors (including the white) is present in the flags of all world countries. They were used for the first time in the Olympic Games in Antwerp in 1920.
The Flame & Torch
The tradition of carrying the Olympic flame in a ‘relay’ from Greece to the Olympic site began during the Berlin 1936 Olympic Games. Few months before the competition, the torch is lit with the sun’s rays concentrated in a reflector in the Greek city of Olympia. This torch is passed from country to country and continent to continent, carried by athletes, leaders, and celebrities. Finally, on the opening day of the Games, the torch arrives in the host country and the cauldron is lit with its flame, to start the Games.
The Medal & Diploma
These are the Olympic symbols that all athletes compete for each edition. It is the prize and recognition for the best athletes of each discipline. The medals can be of gold, silver, and bronze, and are awarded to the first, second, and third-place athletes, respectively. Each edition has a special design, decided by the organizing country.
As for the diplomas, these are awarded to competitors who have placed fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth since 1981.
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The olive wreath crown
It is one of the most important Olympic symbols, but maybe less appreciated, despite its importance in history. The olive branch was given to the winning athletes at the Olympic Games in ancient times, as there were no medals at that time.
Ancient Greeks used to make the crown with leaves from a sacred olive tree, located near the temple of Zeus in the city of Olympia. Displaying the prize on the head was the ultimate pride for an athlete. This tradition was revived in Athens in 2004.
The Olympic anthem is sung at the raising of the Olympic flag. The Greek composer Spyridon Samaras is the author of the music, and the lyrics are from a poem by Kostis Palamas, also a Greek national.
It was first performed at the first modern Olympic Games in Athens in 1896, but the IOC did not declare it official until 1958. However, each host country is responsible for composing its own version of the Olympic anthem.
The salute is the last Olympic symbol. But it is no longer used due to its similarity to the Nazi salute used by Hitler. It was a variant of the Roman salute, with the right arm and hand, stretched straight upwards and the palm downwards. The last time the Olympic salute was performed was at the opening of the 1948 Winter Games in St. Moritz, Switzerland.
With the exception of the last one, all the others Olympic symbols are still present at every edition of the Games. Did you recognize all of them?
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