News

Do you know what the Olympic rings stand for?

Do you know what the Olympic rings stand for?

RINGS AND THINGS: International Olympic Committee spokesman Mark Adams says "the rings are not assigned to each continent," despite popular legend." Photo: Associated Press

SOCHI, Russia (AP) — No, the different-colored Olympic rings don’t correspond to specific continents.

But you’d be forgiven for thinking differently if you’re going to or from Sochi’s airport.

Five enormous concrete sculptures of the rings welcome visitors, each labeled in bold letters, in Russian and English, with the name of a continent: Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, the Americas.

SPECIAL SECTION: 2014 Winter Olympics

Trouble is, that’s wrong. International Olympic Committee spokesman Mark Adams says “the rings are not assigned to each continent,” despite popular legend. “I don’t know how that happened, but I don’t think it’s a major issue.”

Olympic historian Philip Barker says an information panel at the 2000 Sydney games similarly misled visitors by attaching continents to specific rings.

When Pierre de Coubertin, considered the founder of the modern Olympics, designed the rings a century ago, he chose black, red, yellow, green and blue because every flag in the world bore at least one of those colors, according to the Olympic Museum.

When one of the rings failed to open during the Sochi Olympic opening ceremony last week, some pesky tweeters perpetuated the continent-color myth and a bit of Cold War nostalgia. They noted the missing ring was the red one — mistakenly considered the American ring. Nope.

Recent Headlines

1 hour ago in Entertainment

Would you eat crickets for lunch?

Fresh
eiblebugsREUTERS

A growing need for more food sources as well as a desire to treat animals more humanely have proponents predicting entomophagy, or eating insects, will eventually spread more heavily to western and developed countries.

2 hours ago in Music

Dolly Parton voicing a singing chicken

Fresh
dollyparton

The country music legend is set for a little fowl play.

2 hours ago in Music

Dierks Bentley on going dark for ‘Black’

16-overlay-12

Dierks Bentley loved his wife's maiden name so much, he was ready to take her name when they got married.

3 hours ago in Entertainment

Running Man dance craze sweeps police departments across U.S.

21-overlay-13

Police officers across the U.S. are dancing an updated version of the running man to a catchy 1990s hip hop song in videos that are gaining wide online popularity.

3 hours ago in Entertainment

National Spelling Bee ends in its unlikeliest tie to date

16-overlay-11

Nihar Janga looked like the strongest speller at the Scripps National Spelling Bee, and perhaps the best ever. And he's only 11 years old.