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Why is there no Olympic ring symbol emoji?

Taking to social media is a great way to support your country in the Olympics- you just won’t be able to use the symbol of the Games to do it.

Spain's Ander Mirambell speeds down the track during a men's skeleton training at the Sanki Sliding Center in Rosa Khutor, a venue for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, near Sochi, February 12, 2014.  REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann (RUSSIA  - Tags: SPORT S

You want to cheer for your country in the Olympics on social media, but you won’t be able to use the perfect emoji to illustrate your sentiments. An icon for the five interlinked rings that symbolize the Games is unlikely to be available on your keyboard.

More than 90% of the online world makes use of emojis to express themselves, so it could be a little frustrating not to be able to use the Olympic icon.

You’d think that such a popular international symbol would merit an emoji on iPhone and Android, but you’d be hard put to find it on either keyboard.

Who decides which emojis are universally available anyway?

More on the Winter Olympics:

Stringent approval process

Anyone can submit a new emoji for inclusion on universal keyboards, but it’s not that easy to have them approved. A proposed symbol can be submitted through an application to a non-profit organization called the Unicode Consortium, and this group decides if an emoji will be added, if it will continue to live, or eventually become extinct.

The Consortium follows the Unicode Standard, which keeps the emojis consistent across different systems.

One guideline states that “images such as company logos, or those showing company brands as part or all of the image, or image of products strongly associated with a particular brand” are a factor for exclusion.

The Olympic rings fall under this category, and since the International Olympic Committee is very protective of its brand, this symbol could only be used with their express permission.

Olympic emojis on Twitter

Although the Olympic rings emoji is unlikely to be available anytime soon on mobile keyboards, the Twitter-verse, at least, will have access to some Olympic-related hashtags and emojis that are available for use for the next couple of weeks.

Typing in #Olympics will reveal a little laurel bearing Olympic colors, while #Beijing2022 will bring up a miniature drawing of Beijing’s National Speed Skating Oval.

You can also temporarily use an emoji for the Olympic mascot by typing in #BingDwenDwen (although you could use the universal panda icon as a replacement), and the Paralympics mascot, #ShueyRhonRhon (who is a little more difficult to substitute.)

All 15 sports in the Winter Olympics will also have their own icons. Just put a hashtag before each sport and you'll see a red square with the corresponding discipline.

Creativity on your keyboard

You could also make use of emojis that you already have to talk about the Olympics- there are symbols for medals, as well as graphics for popular winter sports.

Show your patriotic spirit by waving the symbol of your country! It’s the perfect time to use those flag emojis, and you better do it now or you might not have a virtual flag to hoist anymore in the future- apparently the least popular category among available emojis is “Flags”. And who knows? If they remain little used, they just may go the way of the golf ball and the clam shell which quietly disappeared from many keyboards.


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