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

in Black Friday, Entertainment

‘TIS THE SEASON: Holiday specials airing this week

Fresh
Frosty the Snowman

Here's a look at Christmas classics and new holiday favorites airing this weekend.

in Black Friday, Entertainment, National

Obama pardons ‘Cheese,’ America’s top turkey

Fresh
turkeypardon

The President pardoned the official Thanksgiving turkey in a tradition that is truly American.

in Entertainment

Harrison Ford signs on to ‘Blade Runner’ sequel

harrisonford

The actor will reprise his 1982 role as bounty hunter Rick Deckard.

in Black Friday, Entertainment

Sting, ‘Sesame Street’ set for Macy’s parade

thanksgiving

KISS, Miss USA Nia Sanchez, Nick Jonas, and Idina Menzel are also set to take part in the 88th annual parade.

in Viral Videos, Weird

WATCH: Passengers in Russia’s Arctic give airliner a push

17-overlay1

In other countries, you may be asked to push a car stuck in the mud. In Russia, it's a jet.