Favorites Friday: Olympic Logos

Just recently, the logo for PyeongChang 2018 was released. And it's, well...

Interesting. I, personally, think it looks sort of unbalanced and unfinished. But the figures are apparently significant in Korean, and this video convinced me that there's tons of really cool design potential. Ideally, the logo of the Olympics is about building a cohesive brand, and this one could end up being really good.

This all got me to thinking about some of my favorite Olympic logos in the past. So what better reason to re-start Favorites Friday than the excuse to wax poetic about some awesome design work? :) (Let's pretend I posted this on Friday, when I originally meant to, and not 2:00 am on Saturday, 'kay?)

Mexico City 1968. This is, without a doubt, my favorite Olympic logo of all time. I love the way the rings are integrated into the 68, and it's done in the style of early Mexican folk-art. The bright colors used in the rest of the design scheme are wonderfully representative of both the 1960s and Mexico, and the colors and the logo are incorporated beautifully, both with each other, in the city, and on merchandise. Click here and be amazed at the flawlessness.

Lake Placid 1980. I like this logo because it's really unique. There's always been a general sort of format; before, logos were either circular or rectangular with the rings and images centered; and after, everything was sort of stacked -- image, city/year, rings, one above the other. This one follows neither; rebellion for the win! I'm also a huge fan of the symbolism. "The chevrons on the right represent the mountains around the Olympic region. These join the vertical lines of the modified Ionic column on the left, which recalls the predecessors of the modern Olympic Games. The serration on the top of the column turns into the Olympic rings, making them look as if they are emerging from the top. This serration symbolizes a double Olympic cauldron, to commemorate the Games already held in Lake Placid in 1932." (source)

Moscow 1980. Logos are designed to represent the games and the country hosting them, and it really doesn't get more Soviet than this logo. It's incredibly representative: if you looked at this logo without the text or any previous knowledge, you would assume it's Soviet, correct? Between the red and the star that matches the one on the USSR's flag, there's really no room for error. The lines look like both a track and a podium, so it's also unmistakably for the summer games, and the star at the top symbolizes reaching for excellence.

Los Angeles 1984. As glaringly, obnoxiously American as Moscow's logo was Soviet, and therefore a very appropriate reaction for the next Olympiad. While I might not love these two logos aesthetically, I have a huge appreciation for what they managed to accomplish. They're probably the two most indicative of their host nation. I also love Los Angeles' design scheme; it's really similar to the funky colors of Mexico City and perfectly represents L.A. Not only that, but it was America trying to distance itself from the seriousness of the Cold War and the previous Soviet games, telling the world to relax and have fun.

Calgary 1988. Calgary is a logo I love almost purely for aesthetic reasons. It's a stylized snowflake as well as a stylized maple leaf (O Canada!) formed of interlocking Cs, which stand for both Calgary and Canada. It's also just really clean and simple and attractive.

Atlanta 1996. This logo is just awesome. It doesn't get more appropriate than a torch when it comes to the Olympics, and the base is made of the Olympic rings and the number 100, for the 100-year anniversary of the modern games. The rising stars symbolize athletes reaching for excellence, the gold coloring represents gold medals, and the green is for Atlanta's reputation as a green city as well as the laurel wreaths given to winners in the ancient games.

Nagano 1998. Kind of strange that the logo for a winter Olympics is a flower (since, y'know, snow and ice and all), but I absolutely love that each petal is an athlete participating in a different winter sport.

Athens 2004. This logo is another that makes sure that you can't possibly wonder about which country is the host. It's blue like the Greek flag and the oceans that are so important to the Greek islands, and the wreath of olives represents the traditional prize given to winners of the Olympics. It also somehow looks simultaneously ancient and modern.

Beijing 2008. Beautifully Chinese. The dancing figure is a stylized representation of the word "jing," which means capital in Chinese and is the second word (obviously) in the capital's name. Red is synonymous with the Chinese flag, and the figure makes the whole thing playful and fun. Also, perfect font is perfect, yes?

Am I missing any good ones? :)

A Letter to the U From A New Grad

To the University of Miami,

It's hard to believe we've gotten to this point.

Our relationship began way back in 2008, when you were nothing more than one school on an extensive list written out by my guidance counselor. I applied with a roll of my eyes. "Yeah, right. I don't party and I don't tan. Why would I ever even consider going there?" But then I came down for the Singer Scholarship weekend, and what can I say? You wooed me with your palm trees and journalism school and amazing athletics and killer scholarship and the promise of no gen-ed requirements.

And now, here we are, over four years after I received The Big Envelope.

We've certainly had our ups and downs, haven't we? This relationship hasn't been easy since, oh, sophomore year? And then there were those five months when I was unfaithful and cheated on you with another university. Queen Mary and I were hot and heavy for a little while, I admit, but I always knew it wouldn't last. The location and the British accent were phenomenal, but where else could I print 900 pages and not run out of printing credit? Where else could I study on a hammock strung up between palm trees in the middle of December? Where else could I live within a 15-minute walk of three of the nation's top-25 collegiate sports teams?
"Great moments are born from great opportunity." 

I can't say our time together has been typical. I still don't party, and I still don't tan (I'm an introvert whose mother had skin cancer, so, y'know). I haven't been to Coconut Grove or South Beach (or any beach, for that matter), and I never experienced happy hour at The Rat. I never pulled an all-nighter, and I never studied in the stacks at Richter. The only time I visited the UC pool was on my second day of my freshman year, and I spent more time sitting behind the desk at the gym than working out in it.

But I did, however, get all-access credentials for football games at SunLife Stadium and basketball games at the BUC. I got to watch from press row as an intern with the athletic department as the basketball team destroyed then-No. 1 Duke by 27 points. I road-tripped to Orlando with the rest of The Hurricane staff for a student media conference and then, a month later, road-tripped back to Orlando for a weekend at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I took a travel writing class that allowed me to go to Wyoming and explore Grand Teton National Park, an evolution of the sitcom class in which I analyzed decades of sitcoms and how they related to current events, and a sports reporting class that gave me the chance to cover the Miami Heat, the Sony Open Tennis Tournament, the Miami Marlins, the Miami Dolphins and more. I've interviewed three Olympians and covered the Chicago Cubs for MLB.com. I can even say I gave an honest attempt at the public transit system -- results are extremely mixed.

You gave me friendships and memories I will treasure for the rest of my life. Getting horrifically bruised while trying curling in a post-Olympics euphoria; living with my freshman roommate for four years, watching old clips of Zoom on YouTube and laughing hysterically about absolutely nothing before discussing our biggest fears about the future at three in the morning; Buffalo Wild Wings every Tuesday night; studying abroad, living (and volunteering for the Olympics) in another country for five months; weekly free movies at the Cosford; deadline nights spent in the newsroom; Monday nights watching Castle; and many, many more.

There have been plenty of rough patches. There were times I wanted to lay down and quit, throw in the towel, and just plain not do it anymore. But there's one thing I never did since I set foot in Coral Gables on August 18, 2009.

I have never, ever questioned whether or not I made the right decision to become a Cane.

And now I'm done. My tassel has been moved to the left side of my cap, and I will only be a Florida resident for another ten days. I'll be packing up my apartment and heading off to Colorado to start a new chapter in my life. During our commencement address, Alberto Ibarguen said, "I hope your time at the U is not the best years of your life. If they are, the U has failed you." I really do hope what's to come is even better than what I'm leaving behind.

But no matter what, even though our relationship has run its course and it's time for me to go, I bleed orange and green until I die and can't wait for my first opportunity to throw up the U outside of Miami. Only a few of us attend the University of Miami; everyone else just wishes they did.

It's great to be a Miami Hurricane.

All my love,

Winter Olympians From Miami: A Dying Breed

February 17, 2002. The Utah Olympic Oval, Salt Lake City, Utah. The women’s long track speed skating 1000m final of the 2002 Winter Olympic Games.

Jennifer Rodriguez takes her place at the starting line.

She’s not thinking about the gold medal she won in this event at a world cup the previous fall. She’s not thinking about her two dozen friends and family members in the stands. She’s not thinking about performing well for her country in the wake of the September 11th terrorist attacks.

She thinks nothing. She sees nothing but the ice in front of her, doesn’t notice the waving flags or the red, white and blue face paint worn by spectators in the crowd. She’s focused. She’s ready.

The gun sounds.

Rodriguez takes off. The start is always her weakest part of her race, and she knows that if she can sprint through the first few hundred meters, she’ll be okay. But in the first turn –

She slips.