1.18 Postgraduate Hotdesk Room
The Olympic Rings – you must have seen them. If not then go find the nearest London 2012 installation, on a regional landmark near you, and then stand and enjoy that warm fuzzy feeling you get. [Back yet?] If your warm fuzzy feeling has already faded and you’re beginning to wonder whether it is all worth it, then you’re in the exact same spot as me.
Composed of five interlocking rings coloured blue, yellow, black, green, and red, the rings are the symbol of the Games. Originally designed in 1912 by ole Pierre (who else?) for the Olympic World Congress of 1914 and almost immediately adopted by the movement more widely, the rings represent the five continents committed to Olympism and healthy competition, they signify the union of the world and the meeting of athletes.
Although the various LOCOG funded efforts around the UK may be sturdy, aluminium structures the grand rhetoric they stand for appears increasingly insecure in my research. Despite the claims of IOC Factsheets (yes, they are audacious enough to claim scientific authority) I cannot find much evidence that the committee itself supports the philosophy it advocates. Instead they delegate the responsibility to National Olympic Committees (NOCs) and Organising Committees of the Olympic Games (OCOGs) to honour the movement’s commitment to sustainable development. Thereby diffusing the very internationalism that the movement was apparently founded on that gives the IOC the potential power for change.
Not everyone has given up on the positive potential of sport in invoking change, however. I’ve not brought it up with Jonathan yet but I actually take issue with the negatively phrased tag line of this very (wonderful) site – Minimising the social and environmental impact of living an active lifestyle. I would argue it is not so much about minimising that negative impact, as the line implies, but maximising the positive impact that sport-for-development groups like Right to Play and Sport Relief can provide. I am steadily convinced that the IOC should at the very least do more to support these endeavours.
So next time you see those lovely rings spare a thought for what they stand for and for me twiddling my black biro, sat at my yellow desk, looking out over my red diary, at the green tree blowing in the blue sky.
[Editor's note: I agree with Declan about the implied negativity of the site's tag line. As a History graduate I tend to think too much about semantics and the "linguistic turn" so was surprised that I hadn't realised it before it was pointed out to me. Look out for a new tag line and a slight refocussing of content as a result. All part of the fiddling