Olympic Emblems


Emblems are not a 20th-century invention. Coats of arms for families, castles and institutions have existed since the Middle Ages. The history of emblems for the Olympic Games reaches back to Paris 1924. The “coat of arms” for Athens 1896 already fulfilled many of the requirements of a modern Olympic emblem, although at the time of the first Olympic Games, it was very much a marginal feature. The key question is: what defines an Olympic emblem and which criteria must it fulfil? In principle the answer is simple: the emblem of the Games usually combines a characteristic symbol, lettering naming the event location and year, and the Olympic rings. The Olympic rings appeared for the first time in a graphic symbol for the Olympic Games in Antwerp 1920. For over 100 years, the Olympic emblems have gradually developed into what they are today: artistically and graphically elaborate, carefully considered trademarks packed full of symbolism. Some of these graphic symbols or letterings are not recognised by the International Olympic Committee as the official emblem of the Olympic Games. See the details in each chapter.