The 2012 Olympic outcry

If you have not seen the official logo of the 2012 Olympics, then you are behind the times. In the past week, this little symbol has caused something of an uproar in the Middle East.

The logo itself is a pretty simple affair and is absolutely unworthy of any kind of controversy. It is a jagged rendition of the numbers, “2,” “0,” “1” and “2.” On the first “2” is the word “London,” signifying the location of the Olympics. On the neighboring “0” is the traditional Olympics symbol, the five interlocking circles.

“The London 2012 logo represents the figure 2012, nothing else. We are surprised that (a) complaint has been made now,” was the official comment of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to the Iranian complaints, according to an article on

Obviously, figuring out what this symbol is intended to “say” is not rocket science.

But, according to the Iranian National Olympic Committee, the symbol looks like the word “Zion.” Being a country that is strongly and openly anti-Israel, the Iranians seemed to take this like a blatant insult of their political and religious beliefs.

While it is clearly a bogus claim, it has expanded into a surprisingly messy ordeal. Since the Olympics is an international organization, the IOC has to go to surprising lengths to try to smooth over an issue that really does not even deserve a glance by an organization that has a world-wide event to plan.

Bahram Afsharzadeh, the secretary general of Iran’s National Olympic Committee, sent a letter of complaint to the IOC. The purpose of this letter was pretty straightforward — either change the logo, or run the risk of having other countries who are anti-Israel back out of the Olympics altogether.

“There is no doubt that negligence of the issue from your side may affect the presence of some countries in the games, especially Iran which abides by commitment to the values and principles,” Afsharzadeh said in the letter, according to a article.

This letter is almost laughably serious and is certainly taking an extremely direct approach to this menial “problem,” if it can be called that.

Fortunately for all involved — excluding anti-Israel countries, of course — the IOC shows absolutely no signs of giving in to such absurd claims. In an interview with BBC sport, Jacques Rogge, the IOC president, seemed surprised that anyone would actually have expected them to change the logo.

“We will quietly reply, telling (Iran) the logo has nothing to do with racism or any political connotation. With the logo, with scissors and some glue you can do whatever you want,” Rogge said in the BBC sport article.
Well done, Mr. Rogge. I could not have said it better myself.

It is completely ridiculous that any country’s Olympic committee could expect the IOC to change its chosen (and expensive) logo on a whim, simply because it was offended by something that the logo clearly does not symbolize.

The real issue that the IOC has professed having with this complaint is that it comes at such a random time. The logo was announced sometime during 2007, not long after it was announced that the 2012 Olympics would be hosted in London. Yet here we are, four years later, and the complaints are just starting to emerge.

It seems odd that, at a time where civil outrage is so prominent in the Middle East, Iran would choose to try and make this into such a big deal. Is it a part of some grander scheme, perhaps, or just a country’s leadership showing that it is tired of how events are going in the world and wanting to try and change something?

There is no real way to know, but it is blatantly obvious that the IOC is hearing none of it.

Dear symbol of the 2012 Olympics, fear not. The IOC is on your side.

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