Beijing 2008 Olympics “Chinese Seal, Dancing Beijing”

By now, you’ve probably seen the emblem representing the Beijing 2008 Olympics. What do you think of it?

It’s a very simple design and one that was hardly surprising would be selected by Beijing out of about 1,800 submitted proposals.

Why? Because the heart of the emblem is the name of Beijing, the Chinese character jing. It means capital and stands for Beijing.

The character is in a stylized form and shows a person running, dancing, jumping or embracing triumph. This dancing figure is supposed to stand for the Olympic motto of “Citius, Altius, Fortius” or in plain English “Faster, Higher, Stronger”.

The red part of the emblem and the dancing figure within looks like a Chinese seal. The Chinese character jing is “carved” into the seal. Red is of course the color of China. Everything about the seal and figure is culturally very Chinese.

Another interesting thing is the English words “Beijing 2008”. The font of these words is actually taken from the Chinese calligraphy used 2,000 years ago in the Han Dynasty. At that time, writing was carved onto bamboo strips. Such calligraphic art – if you really want to know -- is known as hanjian.

And of course the bottom part of the emblem are the five Olympic rings which represent the five parts of the world which are joined together in the Olympic spirit -- Africa, the Americas, Asia, Australia and Europe.

So in a sense the Beijing 2008 emblem merges both Chinese culture and the Olympic spirit. By having a person at the heart of the logo represents the human face of the Olympics. Call it the world coming together or the aspirations of 1.3 billion Chinese people. Whatever it is, it’s a friendly and open image that Beijing’s showing to the world.

Beijing 2008 Olympics: What are the meanings of the five mascots?