As the 2021 Olympics close, the rings which symbolise the celebration of athletic competition have been ceremonially cut up and carefully disposed of rather than being thrown into the sea or the bottom of a hedge as usual.
Interlocking bands of rings are noted for getting caught on wildlife and can choke or harm animals, and as part of the Olympic commitment to sustainability, a pair of scissors was ceremonially taken to the rings before being put in the recycling.
“After the Los Angeles games huge numbers of intact Olympic Rings were just thrown into the Pacific and you still get them washing up on the California coast to this day, or found wrapped around a turtle’s flippers,” said Tokyo Olympic organiser Simon Wirriams.
“And after Moscow in 198o the Soviet government burned all their spare rings as fuel, which resulted in a thick cloud of choking and carcinogenic smoke drifting over Poland and into Scandinavia for several weeks.”
When asked, organisers of the 2024 Paris games said their rings would be made of strings of Toulouse sausages so they could be eaten afterwards, provided a small dog in a neckerchief didn’t grab them and run away first.