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Olympic Flag in the main stadium.


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Anyone knows what the protocol is for the movement (lowering or raising) of the large olympic flag in the stadium during the course of the games? Technically once up during the OC, it should not be tempered with?

I know for sure at Vancouver the moment the opening ceremonies were done, they lowered it and moved the flagpole around, and re-raised it during the nightly Victory Ceremonies, and prior to the closing ceremony it was lowered, and relocated to the other side of the stage next to the canadian flag on another flag pole. (during the opening it was at opposite sides of the stage) I saw some video footage of the "in between" moments and them moving the flag around. I suppose in Vancouver they had more liberty since it was in an indoor location away from the view of the public?

I believe the Beijing flag was also relocated during the games, as the location of flagpole at opening ceremony and during athletics was at a different position of the Birds Nest.

Secondly, I also noticed in recent times, (since Athens 2004 I think), they have been placing the host nation's flag on a similar flagpole next to the olympic flag or in close proximity to it, so that both flags fly in tandem with each other during the OC. Was there a shift in IOC policy on this, because prior to Athens, it seems that the Olympic flag was always on it's own, while during the OC, the host nation would have it's flag raised on the much smaller/ three poles which are used for 1,2,3 positions during the subsequent competition. At least for the summer games this has been the case since forever?

I know in beijing they did remove the China flag and flagpole after the OC, so that during athletics the Olympic Flag was on it's own. The china flag made it's reappearance at the CC.

Any thoughts?

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It appears there are no hard-and-fast rules. I think all the IOC cares about is the entry and exit of the flag at Opening and CLosing. And it depends on each stadium.

Salt Lake had the US flag/pole at one end of the field; and the Olympic flag/pole at the other.

As for them moving around the flag(s) in the main Olympic stadium, I think it's because it'll cause viewing problems for some areas in the stands...so they'll just move those things out...which indeed have no reason being there. Plus, they raise the winning flags as flat, 2-D planes now. So for that, you certainly don't need the flagpoles.

I think it's a case by case situation. As for having the OC Olympic flag always present, well, there are thousands of Olympic flags throughout the host city already flying, so by NOT having the main Olympic flag flying at the O stadium, would NOT necessarily dilute the message. I don't see how anyone could mistake themselves thinking it's a CWG competition they are attending... rather than an Olympic one. :lol:

Edited by baron-pierreIV
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Great commentary baron.

I still do love the old days when they had the big flag on it's own, and certainly without the 'aid' of fan blowing at it as we have seen at Beijing and Vancouver (of course indoors there would be no wind) :D

Simple, truthful and just let the flag and wind do it's thing without human intervention.

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You call it the "old days" but I think it was just something done for these two special cases where the stadium design didn't allow a lot of natural wind. BC Place was domed and Bird's Nest was very enclosed. Montreal's Stade Olympique was also very enclosed and the flag didn't flutter a lot either. London's stadium will be more open aired. Rio's Maracana, too. And the plan for Sochi's ceremonies stadium is open air as well.

Having attended a number of Victory Ceremonies at those games, I liked what Vancouver did with the Olympic flag. I guess for the ceremonies, it is about raising the Olympic flag and performing the anthem, not about keeping it up the whole Games through.

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We all should remember with what happened to the 1st time the 5-ring Olympic flag was raised at Antwerp.

The first Olympic flag was presented to the IOC at the 1920 Summer Olympics by the city of Antwerp, Belgium. At the end of the Games, the flag could not be found and a new Olympic flag had to be made for the 1924 Summer Olympics (see below). In 1997, at a banquet hosted by the US Olympic Committee, a reporter was interviewing Hal Haig Prieste who had won a bronze medal in platform diving as a member of the 1920 US Olympic team. The reporter mentioned that the IOC had not been able to find out what had happened to the original Olympic flag. "I can help you with that," Prieste said, "It's in my suitcase." At the end of the Antwerp Olympics, spurred on by team-mate Duke Kahanamoku, he climbed a flagpole and stole the Olympic flag. For 77 years the flag was stored away in the bottom of his suitcase. The flag was returned to the IOC by Prieste, by then 103 years old, in a special ceremony held at the 2000 Games in Sydney[9]. The Antwerp Flag is now on display at the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland, with a plaque thanking him for donating it.

After Prieste's theft of the original Antwerp flag, a new one was created for the 1924 Summer Olympics in Paris. Despite it being a replacement, the IOC officially still calls this the "Antwerp Flag" instead of the "Paris Flag" [10] It was passed on to the next organizing city of the Summer Olympics or Winter Olympics until the 1952 Winter Olympics in Oslo, Norway when a separate Olympic flag was created to be used only at the Winter Olympics (see below).

...from Wikipedia

So keeping the Olympic flags up there, does require 24-hour security shifts...

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^^^

Great story! Yes, there's a long history of flag thiefs, including our Dawn Fraser:

During the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Fraser angered swimming team sponsors and the Australian Swimming Union (ASU) by marching in the opening ceremony against their wishes, wearing an older swimming costume because it was more comfortable than the one supplied by the sponsors. She also stole an Olympic flag from a flagpole outside Emperor Hirohito's palace.[3] She was arrested but released without charge. The Emperor gave her the flag as a souvenir. However, the Australian Swimming Union suspended her for 10 years. They repented a few months before the 1968 Games but by then it was too late for Fraser, at 31, to prepare.

Wikipedia

Edited by Sir Rols
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I don't know why there is still so much confusion about the hoisted Olympic Flag and the Olympic Flag passed on from host city to host city.

Hal Haig Prieste obviously stole a hoisted Olympic Flag (it even sounds as if it hasn't been the one hoisted at the Olympic Stadium, but at any other flagpole in Antwerp), not the Olympic Flag which should be passed to the next host city (and which we know as "Antwerp Flag").

So the "Antwerp Flag" (also known as "the flag passed on from host city to host city") never vanished, neither in 1920 nor in any other year. It was simply retired in 1988 and replaced by the "Seoul Flag" (due to tradition, often still called the "Antwerp Flag") because it had worn out over all those years.

Nevertheless, you can still hear TV commentators say at opening or closing ceremonies cr*p like that the Olympic Flag which is hoisted or lowered is the "Antwerp Flag" which is passed to the next host city. No, it isn't. Every Olympic host gets a new flag for the hoisting segment at the opening ceremony.

Also I think I have read somewhere that the Soviets kept the Antwerp Flag because they didn't want to hand it out to the Americans for the LA 1984 Games. That is also cr*p. There was simply no Moscow delegation for the handover of the Antwerp Flag at the LA 1984 Games -- instead, the Antwerp Flag was carried into the stadium by members of the ceremonial cast and then passed on to the mayor of Los Angeles. So the Soviets did hand out the Antwerp Flag, they only didn't hand it over personally at the opening ceremony.

But I bet that we'll have to discuss those confusions about the different flags used at Olympic Games in a few years again...

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Also I think I have read somewhere that the Soviets kept the Antwerp Flag because they didn't want to hand it out to the Americans for the LA 1984 Games. That is also cr*p. There was simply no Moscow delegation for the handover of the Antwerp Flag at the LA 1984 Games -- instead, the Antwerp Flag was carried into the stadium by members of the ceremonial cast and then passed on to the mayor of Los Angeles. So the Soviets did hand out the Antwerp Flag, they only didn't hand it over personally at the opening ceremony.

As for the flag handover at the LA'84 opening, I had heard or read somewhere that a handful of Soviets attended the LA Games in their capacity as officials or pre-committed judges of some of the IFs (like I believe it was Ludmilla Turescheva who worked as a judge at the gymnastics competition at Pauley). So they brought over the so-called "Antwerp" flag, then gave it to the LAOOC who took it from there.

Edited by baron-pierreIV
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Why is the seoul flag allowed to have the colored fringes around the edges? I mean it's really beautiful and it is so distinguishable at the Closing Ceremonies. but it's not been done for the Oslo Flag and recently the unveiling of the Singapore Flag to be passed on to Nanjing for the YOG also has nothing special on it.

I mean it is sort of a ceremonial flag - and could possibly have interesting embellishments, much like how a royal standard or military regiment's colors have interesting tassels hanging from the flagstaff etc.

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Why is the seoul flag allowed to have the colored fringes around the edges? I mean it's really beautiful and it is so distinguishable at the Closing Ceremonies. but it's not been done for the Oslo Flag and recently the unveiling of the Singapore Flag to be passed on to Nanjing for the YOG also has nothing special on it.

I mean it is sort of a ceremonial flag - and could possibly have interesting embellishments, much like how a royal standard or military regiment's colors have interesting tassels hanging from the flagstaff etc.

That's it. That's the whole point...something decorative to set it apart from any other "Olympic flag." Otherwise, a white Olympic flag is a white Olympic flag is a white Olympic flag.

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Exactly and there would be no difference between the Oslo flag and one I can buy and fly in my backyard.

It just contributes to the continued confusion so many reporters have during the Handover Ceremony at the CC. They should have a new rule that kicks those reporters out who don't know their facts! Wasting precious space at the ceremonies! So why did Seoul get to do something special?

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So why did Seoul get to do something special?

Seoul, or somebody at the IOC must've remarked that the "Antwerp" flag was somehow looking peaked and would not survive a cleaning...after all, by 1988, that flag was already 68 years old (and must've smelled really musty too) -- so Seoul just had the bright idea to come out w/ a new flag. At most, the IOC could always refuse it. But at this time, the IOC wanted to add more historic things to its Museum collection, so it was as good an excuse as any to bring the older flag home -- and probably also to put to bed the rumors/controversy/confusion that the so-called "Antwerp" flag wasn't really the original one.

Now, it's actually up to Sochi now to step in and retire the "Oslo" flag which will be 62 years old in 2014. And it would be PAST retirement age at the 2018 Games. ;)

Edited by baron-pierreIV
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