Friday, August 20, 2004

The Art of the Olympics

Official poster designed by the Image & Identity Department of the OCOG
Athens 2004 Communications Division.

The official poster of the ATHENS 2004 Olympic Games incorporates three key communication elements of the Games visual identity: the emblem of the Games, a section of the “Panorama” composition, and a view of the Acropolis.

The emblem serves as reference to the four key values of the Athens Games: heritage, human scale, participation, and celebration. The “Panorama” artwork composition is based on forms that reflect images of Greece’s cultural heritage and natural environment: waves, a fragment of an ancient Greek inscription, an ornamental motif from an ancient vase, the blue colours of the Greek sea and sky, the vibrant colour of the bougainvillea, the grey of stone, the warm orange colours of the sun.
-- Athens 2004 Olympic Games
The following are a sample of the large collection of posters that have recorded modern Olympic Games history:

One of my favorite Olympic posters, it captures the swimming event for all its elegant simplicity: Following the big line painted underwater.

Any idea which country the bunny rabbit competed for? I'm guessing Fredonia.

Now that's appealing: Attending the Olympics, sipping champagne in an open air café in the freezing, high latitudes of the Northern hemisphere.

Is it my imagination, or is that splendid blond beast's arm raised up, giving us the old sieg heil?

A quintessentially Southern California poster, complete with a golden boy in wrinkled tennis shorts, wearing a hemp boa, set against a stucco background.

The Brave pounding on the tom-tom must be a member of the little known Pajama tribe, famous for their colorful bottoms and comfortable slippers.

A courageous poster considering the event took place at a location where the per capita use of soap and underarm deodorant was the lowest in the civilized world.

Proof that the modern Olympics shamelessly emulated their ancient counterpart: Too many half-naked young men and boys. It would be years before the modern Olympics would mature with the inclusion of Women's Beach Volleyball.

More Olympics posters can be viewed and purchased at Sports History, Olympic Sports Gallery and

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