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2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics

The Olympic Flag

Universally recognized and respected, the Olympic flag was created by Pierre de Coubertin in 1914 and features five interlocking rings, colored blue, yellow, black, green and red on a white field, known as the "Olympic rings."
The flags flown over the stadiums of each host country are variations of the official Olympic flag. Although they all contain the famous rings, there are differences in color and other subtleties (like the presence--or lack--of white outlines around each ring) that make them specific to the host country. After the closing ceremony these host flags are retired. The official Olympic flag (or heirloom flag), however, is passed from the mayor of the host city to the next host, where it will then be taken to the new host and displayed at city hall.

Team USA Olympic Flag

Meaning of the Olympic Rings

The Olympic rings are one of the most recognizable symbols across the globe. But do you know what the symbol means? According to the official International Olympic Committee (IOC), “The Olympic symbol expresses the activity of the Olympic Movement and represents the union of the five continents and the meeting of athletes from throughout the world at the Olympic Games.” (Olympic Charter, Rule 8).

Olympics Host Country Flag

The host country for the 2018 Winter Olympics is South Korea or the Republic of Korea. This will be South Korea’s second Olympic Games and its first Winter Games; Seoul hosted the Summer Games in 1988. This year the city of PyeongChang will host.

Korean Unified Flag with the North and South Korea flags

A recent development is that instead of the South Korean flag being used to open the PyeongChang 2018 Games, the Korean Unification Flag (above) will be used representing a unified North and South Korea (for the purpose of the Olympics only). Will the unification flag be the only one used at the ceremony or will they wave the two nations flags behind? Officials have not finalized the use the of the Unification flag. The last time the two countries came together and walked under the Korean Unification Flag was at the Sydney games in 2000. The white flag with the Korean peninsula in blue was first proposed to be used in the 1990 Asian Games. The flag made its debut in 1991 at a world table tennis championship in Japan.

Flags of the Olympic Countries

Each country’s flag is displayed at the opening ceremony during the Parade of Nations. Athletes bearing the flags of their respective nations will lead their national delegations as they parade into the Olympic stadium. As the originator of the Olympics, the Greek team will enter first. The South Korean team will enter last, representing the host nation.

Olympic Medal Ceremonies and Flags

At the conclusion of each Olympic sporting event, a Medal Ceremony is held. The victors are announced and take their place on a three-tiered, raised platform after which they are given their medals by a member of the International Olympics Committee. After all athletes receive their medals, the national flags of the three winners are raised directly above them. The winner’s flag always flies the highest, with the silver and bronze medalist following in order. The national anthem of the gold medalist is played as the flags are being raised.

The medal ceremony for the men's team pursuit at the Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics

The Olympics, Flags, and Patriotism

If ever there is a time where people are proud of their flag, it is the Olympics. Each country’s flag is displayed in the opening ceremony parade of patriotism, on the athletic uniforms of the competitors and brandished in the stands by their supporters. Yes, there is a lot of flag waving at the Olympics. Each country participates in hopes of bringing home the gold. But, win or lose, you will see the stands full of hand held flags from all over the world as the onlookers cheer for their country’s representative on the field, rink, slopes, etc. And, the moment any athlete from any nation crosses a finish line, one of the first things they reach for is their flag. As that flag is lifted, It evokes in us an emotion that can hardly be described. Our hearts filled with pride and oft times our eyes with tears…the flag, the symbol of our country, displayed for the world to see and acknowledge. There are few other things that move us this way. We proudly support our USA athletes just like we have proudly sold the USA flag for the last 43 years.

Shop our selection of USA and world themed products to cheer your favorite teams on!

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Stay up to date with all of the events and medal winners on the official Olympics PyeongChang 2018 website.

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