While most see the 2012 Olympic logo as a heavily stylized set of numbers, Iran sees the word "Zion"

The London 2012 Olympics logo has officially been released. The Olympics logo is always an item of interest, but this year Iran is claiming the logo is attempting to make a political statement.

2012 Olympics logo

The 2012 Olympics logo is a bright pink and yellow or white square. The logo is a very stylized version of the numbers “2012,” with the “london” and the Olympic rings in white within the numbers. The 2012 Olympics logo uses only three colors, which is very uncharacteristic. The last Olympics to put the Olympic rings in a single color, rather than their original five, was Calgary’s Winter Olympics in 1988.

Iran objects to 2012 Olympics logo

Though the 2012 Olympics logo was inspired by 2012, the leaders of Iran apparently see something different. The Iranian leadership claims the 2012 Olympics logo spells out the word “Zion,” in an apparent reference to Israel. Iran and Israel have a very difficult relationship, and Iran claims that this reference to Israel is “racist.” Iran is threatening to keep the Iranian athletes away from the 2012 Olympics unless the logo is changed to something they cannot interpret as an affront.

History of Olympic boycotts

If Iran follows through with the 2012 Olympic boycott, a small delegation of athletes will be held back. Olympic boycotts have a long history, starting with the 1936 Berlin Games, when the Irish delegation refused to go unless the entire island could be represented. Usually, Olympic boycotts are over political issues — the Suez Crisis, Hungarian uprising, Apartheid, the naming and recognition of debated regions such as Taiwan and China’s human rights record. Politics have always played a part in the Olympic games, and if Iran chooses to boycott the 2012 Olympics, it will be the first boycott caused by the Olympic logo. Either way, the country will be setting the stage for the already heavily debated 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia.


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