A Brief History of the Opening Ceremonies

Olympics Opening Ceremonies

The First Flag
The 1920 Games were awarded to Antwerp, Belgium, in an effort to show that the Olympic spirit could flourish even in a country still reeling from the carnage of the first World War. Belgium's just-defeated enemies — Germany, Austria, Bulgaria, Hungary and Turkey — were not invited, but the 29 countries that did attend the Games sought unity from the very start: the opening ceremonies saw the introduction of the Athlete's Oath — in which a competitor from the host country promises on behalf of all the athletes to play fairly and obey all the rules — and the Olympic flag. Made of five interlocking rings of blue, yellow, black, green and red against a white background, it included at least one color from every nation's flag. Both traditions endure today.

Get the Latest Photos from Time.com
Get TIME photos and pictures of the week delivered directly to your inbox.