Flying the flag

16 Dec 2020

The raising of the Olympic flag during the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games is another legacy of Antwerp 1920.

Designed by Baron Pierre de Coubertin in 1913, the flag was first displayed in Paris in 1914 to mark the 20th anniversary of the International Olympic Committee. Following World War I, the Antwerp 1920 Opening Ceremony was the first time it was seen at an edition of the Olympic Games. It has since become one of the most instantly recognisable symbols in the world and has been an integral part of every subsequent Olympic Games.

Coubertin’s design was simple but striking. The five coloured rings, representing the five competing continents of the world (with North and South America grouped together and no athlete competing from Antarctica) sit on a white, borderless background. Historically, the flags of every nation included at least one of these six colours.

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