The Olympic Games has its own flag, and like so much of what goes on around the Games, there’s a lot of tradition and symbolism related to that banner.

It’s a white flag with five interlocking rings, that are blue, yellow, black, green and red.

It’s a symbol of unity, since, as the organizers said, the colors represented every color found in every national flag on Earth.

The original Olympic flag flew over the Games for the first time in 1920, in Antwerp, Belgium.

The idea was that the flag would go from host city to host city, sort of like how they pass the Olympic torch.

But instead, the “Antwerp flag,” as it became known… disappeared.

And we didn’t find out what had happened to it for seven decades.


It was in 1997, when a reporter was talking with Hal Haig Prieste, who had won a bronze medal in diving in the Antwerp Games.

The reporter mentioned the story of the missing Olympic flag, and Prieste, who was then over 100 years old and the oldest living former American Olympian, reportedly said, “I can help you with that. It’s in my suitcase.”

As he told it, he’d been dared by the great swimming champion Duke Kahanamoku to find a way up the 15 foot flagpole and take the flag down.

He then took it home and put it in a suitcase, apparently not aware that this was no ordinary flag.

That’s where it stayed for 77 years.

Once the mystery had been solved, Prieste volunteered to return the banner to the Olympic committee, though he did want to have a plaque under its display saying who had returned it.

And no, he didn’t get in any trouble.

As the president of the US Olympic Committee put it, the Belgians said the statute of limitations had run out on the case of the missing Olympic flag.


How about a gold medal for this project: a team at the University of Maryland 3D printed a robotic hand.

They were able to get the robot hand to beat the first level of the original Super Mario Bros. in under a minute and a half.

But the princess was still in another castle.

OLYMPICS: NOTEBOOK; Missing Flag Returns to Glory, Courtesy of a Prankster (New York Times)

Scientists 3D Print Robotic Hand That Can Play Nintendo (Interesting Engineering)

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Photo by Ryan Lejbak via Flickr/Creative Commons