The ubiquitous Olympic symbol — five colored interlocked circles on a field of white — was designed by Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the modern Olympic games, in 1912. The inspiration for the interlocking rings came from an organization that de Coubertin previously managed, the Union des Sociétés Françaises de Sports Athlétiques (USFSA). The USFSA, the union of two French sports associations, adopted a symbol of two interlocked circles — similar to two interlocked wedding rings. For this particular logo, it has been suggested that it drew upon the work of Carl Jung who believed that the circle represented the human being.
The interlacing of the five circles of the Olympic symbol represents the universality of Olympism and the meeting of athletes from all around the world during the games. For this logo, the five circles represent the five continents. In an article published in 1912, de Coubertin explained the significance of the colors drawn from the colors of national flags that existed at that time: “These five rings represent the five parts of the world which now are won over to Olympism and willing to accept healthy competition. Blue stands for Europe, black for Africa, red for Americas, yellow for Asia and, green for Oceania.” Over the past few decades, the Olympic Committee, has feverishly backpedaled — like an Olympian bicyclist –from de Coubertin’s egregious lack of political correctness; consequently it has attempted to re-write history: “The six colors of the flag represent all nations. It is a misconception, therefore, to believe that each of the colors corresponds to a certain continent.” So in the racial sensitivity competition de Coubertin scores a 1, the modern Olympic Committee scores a perfect 10.
Although de Coubertin was very excited about the new symbol he developed, the world would not get to see it for another eight years. Due to the outbreak of World War I, the new Olympic logo was not officially unveiled until 1920 in Antwerp Belgium at the Games of the VII Olympiad.
For further reading: http://www.olympic.org/Documents/Reports/EN/en_report_1303.pdf.