The Olympic symbol consisting of five overlapping rings was designed in 1913. The rings represent the union of the continents and of athletes from around the world. Even though there are seven geographic continents, for purposes of international sports competition Antarctica is excluded and traditionally North and South America are considered simply as “America.”
The Olympic flag made its first public appearances in Paris during the 1914 Olympic Congress, although it was not flown at the Olympic Games until 1920. In 1990, the International Olympic Committee announced that Atlanta would host the 1996 Summer Olympic Games. However, the transfer of the Olympic flag did not come until the conclusion of the 1992 Summer Games in Barcelona, Spain.
In September 1992, the Olympic flag was carried through the state of Georgia before its journey to Atlanta City Hall, its official home until the opening of the 1996 Olympic Games, when it flew over Olympic Stadium.
At the close of the 1996 Summer Olympics, the mayor of Atlanta passed the Olympic flag to the president of the IOC, who in turn presented the flag to the mayor of Sydney, Australia, which will host the 2000 Summer Olympics.