The new BSSM logo: meaning and curiosity

The new logo consists of two elements that show different aspects of our association. The lion is one of the symbols of Bocconi University, while the surrounding circular shapes represent the olympic circles, which provides a direct connection to the realm of sport.

We all know that the five interlocking circles represent the union of the five continents and the meeting of athletes from throughout the world at the Olympic Games, but few of us could name the designer and tell the story behind it. The conception of the rings can be traced back to Pierre de Coubertin, a French aristocrat and intellectual who is known as the founder of modern Olympics. It wasn’t until the sixth Olympics that the rings became the official logo of the international multi-sport event. In 1912 in Stockholm, with Japan’s debut, the first time an Asian nation participated, making it the first Olympics featuring athletes from all five inhabited “continents” of the world.

According to Coubertin, the colors of the Olympic flag represented almost all nations as these colors were present in the flags of most countries. (including white, which is the background color), and no ring is specifically associated with a particular continent, although the existing rumors suggest that Blue would stand for Europe, Black for Africa, Red for Americas(North & South), Yellow for Asia and Green for Oceania (Australia and all outlying islands).

Fourteen nations took part in the first modern Olympic Games held in Athens. Participants were all European, or living in Europe, with the exception of the United States Team. Chile claimed itself the first Latin American country to participate in the Olympic Games by sending the thirteen-year-old Luis Subercaseaux to Athens. His results are not listed in the Official Report, though that Report typically includes only medal winners. Australia is another country that only had one representative in 1896, namely Edwin Flack. He was sent to London one year ago to receive further training as an accountant with the firm Price, Waterhouse & Co (now the famous PwC) and decided to attend the coming Olympics after joining the London Athletic Club. During the games, Flack was an incredibly popular champion. Although he is recognised now as having reached double gold medal status, there were no gold medals in those first Games.

The stories of the remaining two continents might not sound so pleasant, as the majority of their nations nowadays were suffering from the western colonialism. Before Japan’s debut as the first Asian nation as mentioned above, Norman Pritchard, an ethnically British athlete won two silver medals at the 1900 Paris Olympics for India, where he was born. Later he became a successful stage actor, and later moved to the United States to work in Hollywood.

South Africa is undeniably the first African nation to participate in the Olympics, however, The first Africans to participate in the modern Olympics were not remarkable athletes like Ethiopia’s Abebe Bikila, who won the 1960 Olympic marathon in Rome, becoming the first black African to win an Olympic gold. Instead, they were battle-hardened soldiers spearheaded by a Canadian scout who had served with the British during the recent Boer war, included two Tswana men, Len Taunyane and Jan Mashiane, who were the first black Africans to participate in the Olympics, and the only blacks to represent South Africa in the Olympics until the end of apartheid. The 1904 Marathon was a largely informal affair, run on an unsuitable course and over roads so dusty that it caused many of the athletes to collapse. Taunyane finished in ninth place out of a field of 32 and 14 finishers. This was a disappointment, as many observers were sure that Taunyane could have done better if he had not been chased nearly a mile off course by aggressive dogs. His compatriot Mashiani finished thirteenth in the race.

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