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The pictograms of Olympic events

Olypic7 Hats off to the organizers of the Beijing 2008 Summer Games in the design of logos.

Already, the “running man” emblem is everywhere in China. The emblem looks like a dancing or running human being, arms spread in celebration, and is the trademark of the upcoming Games. What makes it highly clever is that it is derived from the Chinese character for “jing,” which is part of the two-character name for Beijing. 

Now take a look at some of the pictograms for various sports. First, you might click here to see the pictograms used in previous summer games. Don’t you agree that the Beijing logos are more distinctive than those used in the past?

Promoters of the Games say the pictograms were developed from, or incorporate ideas from, early Chinese writings on bones, known as the oracle bones. They also reflect the Chinese characters used in seals, or chops, that go on documents.

China has just released the pictograms for the Paralympic Games, which follow the Summer Olympics, and Xinhua quoted a designer as saying, “The designs not only feature the particular movement and dynamism of each sport, but are also easy to recognize, remember and use.” He’s right on that count.

The article noted that the pictograms would soon pop up on road signs, in decorations on venues and in TV broadcasts and promotional advertisements.

The Games organizers don’t get everything right. You may remember the ridiculous decision to change the name of the Games mascots from the “Friendlies” to the “Fuwa.” Apparently, organizers with hyperactive imaginations decided that foreigners might call them the “Friend lies” or “Friendless.”

I’ve just received the 171-page “service guide” for journalists reporting on the Games. I’ll post if there’s anything interesting in there.


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What's in a name?

Regarding the name change from Friendlies to Fuwa. Names are sensitive in Asia. China is a country where people are sensitive to even phone numbers. The number 4 as you know pronounced similarly to "death" hence its aversion by ordinary Chinese.

But yes, I agree it can be silly.

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"China Rises" is written by Tom Lasseter, the Beijing bureau chief for McClatchy Newspapers.

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