Even though Pierre de Coubertin intended the Olympic Games to be an international event from the time of their re-establishment in 1896 in Athens, Greece, it was only at the 1912 Games in Stockholm, Sweden that, for the first time, the participants came from all five continents. One year later, in 1913, the five rings appeared at the top of a letter written by Pierre de Coubertin. He drew the rings and colored them by hand. The rings are interlocked as a symbol of the linking of the athletes from around the world that would compete and form a friendship
In August 1913, he described this symbol in the Olympic Review. It was also Coubertin who had the idea for the Olympic flag. He presented the rings and flag in June 1914 in Paris at the Olympic Congress. The First World War prevented the Games from being celebrated in 1916 in Berlin, Germany, as planned. It was not until 1920 in Antwerp, Belgium, that the flag and its five rings could be seen flying in an Olympic stadium. The universality conveyed by the rings and the flag was a new idea at the beginning of the 20th century. Nationalism was very strong and tension between certain countries was high. It was in this climate, however, that Coubertin proposed a symbol which aimed to encourage world unity.
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