After 100 years, India gets its own identity in the Olympics arena

The first Indian Olympic team of four athletes and two wrestlers was sent for the Summer Olympic Games in Antwerp, Belgium in the year 1920. The 2020 Tokyo Olympics marks a century of India’s participation in the Olympics. It has been a splendid journey that started in the colonial era, when India and Indians were ruled by the British. Like most colonial nations, the Indian flag at the 1920 event was the British flag with The Star of the Order of the Star of India.

Flag of India at the 1920 Summer Olympics | Commons

For a hundred years, after the Indian team’s debut at the Olympics, the participating athletes and sportspeople wore the logo based on the colonial emblem, the Star of India. Now, a century later, the Indian team will be wearing a newly designed logo inspired by the Indian tricolour. The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) adopted a new logo and brand identity which will be used by athletes while competing on the world arena, as well as in all official events and ceremonies at the Olympics, CommonWealth Games and other international sporting events. Unveiling the new identity, IOA President Narinder Dhruv Batra and Secretary General Rajeev Mehta had said in a joint statement, “The new logo of the Indian Olympic Association is a symbol of our country’s identity and our values in sport. Designed to be carried with pride as our athletes take to the world stage, representing Team India, the new identity is a proud celebration of tiranga, the pride, dignity and a lifetime of determined hard work of our athletes and the values of unity, friendship and merit, upheld by the IOA.”

New identity adopted by the Indian Olympics Association (IOA) implemented since the 2020 Tokyo Olympics

The project began in February of 2020 and was carried on through the bulk of the covid period. Finally the identity that embeds the Indian tricolours was adopted, and was on display on the international arena today with the ceremonial openings of this year’s Olympic games. The colours of the Indian tiranga are similar to those shared by the flags of Ireland, Niger and Ivory Coast. These countries’ identities on the Olympic arena however, use symbols that represent their geography
or culture like the four-leaf clover in the case of Ireland, or the elephant head in the case of Ivory Coast. None of the logos draw from the colours of their
flag, like the identity of India at the Olympics. This new identity is designed by the team at SMITTEN® a communication and design firm, specialising in identity creation, rebranding & brand consulting.

The athletes representing India at the Olympics this year wore blazers with the new identity embroidered on it.


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