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The Olympic rings

To use the symbol of the Olympic rings to draw out lessons of togetherness across the world.

by Rebecca Parkinson

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To use the symbol of the Olympic rings to draw out lessons of togetherness across the world.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need a large picture of the Olympic rings – widely available on the internet (search on Google images). You could use an image for guidance but ask some children to create a large version for the assembly.


  1. Ask the children if they know what major sporting event is taking place in China this year. Show the children a picture of the Olympic rings and ask if any of them know what the rings mean.
  2. Explain that the rings were first adopted as a sign for the Olympics by the founder of the modern Olympic movement, Baron Pierre de Coubertin, in 1913. The five rings represent the five major regions of the world: Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe and Oceania. Every national flag in the world includes at least one of the five colours, which are (from left to right) blue, yellow, black, green and red.
  3. Almost 100 years ago Baron Pierre de Coubertin saw the importance of the Olympics as an event that drew together people from all over the world. Many of the people who would take part spoke different languages, looked different, had different religions, but for a short time differences were put to one side as athletes from every nation competed side by side.

    Baron de Coubertin wanted the rings to be interlinked with one another, not to be separate rings positioned side by side. He felt that sport linked nations together.
  4. If appropriate, ask the children if Coubertin’s views about togetherness are still held by countries today as they look towards the Olympics – many children will have seen Newsround where the difficulties with the Olympic torch procession were shown. You may want to discuss this and include the notion of an ideal: something that people agree is good and that they aim for, even if they don’t always achieve it.
  5. Explain that the Olympic rings give us a great example of what the world should be like: all the nations of the world linked together, regardless of whether they are rich or poor, follow a particular religion, etc. You could also mention the extension of the Olympic ideal in the development of the Paralympics.
  6. Christians believe that God loves all people equally, as suggested by the Olympic rings. If you look at the Olympic rings there is no distinction made between countries, but each country is incorporated in some way with the colours of every national flag in the world included in the five rings.
  7. Encourage them to think about the message of this assembly when they see the Olympic rings on the television this summer.

Time for reflection


Pause for a moment and think of people in other parts of the world.

Today many are hungry, many are homeless, many are afraid.

The Olympics have, at their heart, the idea that all people can compete equally.

What do you think of this idea? Can sport play a part in bringing peace and fairness to our world?



Dear God,

Thank you for everything we have in this country – we are so fortunate!

Thank you that you love people wherever they are in the world.

Please help us to always think of others.

Please help us to spread the love of God to those around us.



‘All the nations of the earth’ (Come and Praise, 14)

Publication date: July 2008   (Vol.10 No.7)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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