The Olympic rings as part of the Olympic symbols were designed by Pierre de Coubertin in 1913. It consists of five entwined rings in the colors blue, yellow, black, green and red; the sixth shade used is white for the background.
Pierre de Coubertin said of the flag in 1913:
“Their shape is to be understood symbolically. It represents the five continents that are united in the Olympic movement; its six colors correspond to those of all national flags in the world today. "
The “intertwining” of the rings symbolizes the universality of the Olympic idea and the continents it unites as well as the coming together of athletes from all countries. Before 1951, the official handbook of the Olympic Games stated that each color represented a continent: blue for Europe, yellow for Asia, black for Africa, green for Australia and red for America. This notice has been removed as there is no evidence that Coubertin intended it to do so.
On 1 July 2004 in joined Germany , the Law on the Protection of the Olympic emblem and the Olympic designations (OlympSchG) into force, the use of the Olympic emblem and the Olympic designations in the course of trade exclusively the National Olympic Committee (NOC) and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) assigns. The law made the use of the Olympic rings without permission despite the fact that they were in the public domain , i. H. 70 years after the death of Pierre de Coubertin, illegal. However, it can still be used in works about the Olympic Games.
This new intellectual property law should support Leipzig's application for the Olympic Games, since the IOC only awards the Olympic Games to states that have passed such a protection law. Critics see the introduction of such a monopoly as an alarming kneel to the commercialization interests of a private organization .
At the end of 2006, a warning against the business blog Saftblog caused a sensation in the weblog scene , which was accused of violating the protective rights of the German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB) by depicting the Olympic rings and mentioning the Olympic Games in two posts . After a storm of protest in the blogosphere , an agreement was reached. At the same time, a Bundestag online petition to abolish the German law was submitted, but this was not complied with.
- The Olympic Museum: The Olympic Symbols , p. 3 (PDF; 872 kB)
- Decision adopted by the Executive Committee . In: IOC (Ed.): Bulletin du Comité International Olympique (Olympic Review) . No. 25, Lausanne, January 1951, p. Poo.
- Peter W. Heermann: Industrial property rights to Olympic symbols Lecture manuscript, lecture given on May 22, 2003 (PDF; 43 kB)
- Draft of a law for the protection of the Olympic emblem and the Olympic designations (OlympSchG) (PDF file)