As the opening ceremony kicks off the 2022 Beijing Olympics, fans across the globe are sending messages to cheer on their country's athletes from afar.
Tributes from celebrities, like Mr. T. going all in for USA Curling, are popping up on social media — as are a new slew of Twitter hashtag emojis for the Olympics, following up on their debut last summer for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
No matter your favorite sport, you can find a fitting phrase and icon to match in your tweet, but one thing you won't find on just about any keyboard is perhaps the best-known symbol associated with the Games: the five iconic rings.
Here's why Olympics emojis in general are so limited, and some widespread alternatives you can use anywhere.
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Is There a Main Olympics Emoji?
Yes, but only in specific places — there isn't a common one you'll find on every app or emoji keyboard. If you're looking to type one through your iPhone or Android keyboard, you'll likely be out of luck.
Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics
Watch all the action from the Beijing Olympics live on NBC
Why Is There No Universal Olympics Emoji?
Many emojis, like on iPhone or Android, are first run through a nonprofit called the Unicode Consortium. The group maintains the Unicode Standard, which keeps the computer code backing emojis aligned across many systems and languages.
When someone wants to create a new emoji, they can send it through an application to the consortium, and a committee in the group then considers whether to give its approval. As part of this process, Unicode has a set of standards that they abide by before giving their "thumbs-up."
While anyone can submit a request, some of their key factors of exclusion are a lack of required rights to the icon, as well as "images such as company logos, or those showing company brands as part or all of the image, or images of products strongly associated with a particular brand."
The most well-recognized symbols representing the Olympics, meanwhile — the five interlocking rings — are heavily guarded by the International Olympic Committee, preventing anyone in the world from using them without specific permission.
This pair of factors combines to mean that there isn't a widely available Olympic rings emoji, and likely won't be one anytime soon.
For the first time last summer, however, the Olympics announced via Twitter it was providing an emoji on the app, available in more than 30 different languages. It appeared during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics when users tweeted out "#Olympics."
It wasn't the first time something like this has happened on Twitter in general, though, as the company regularly rolls out emojis that appear next to specific hashtags for a limited time, often during big events that garner a lot of interest.
What Are the Twitter Hashtags and Emojis for the 2022 Winter Olympics?
Over the next couple weeks, users can use employ two different primary hashtags for these Games: #Beijing2022 to reveal a mini graphic of the Ice Ribbon venue, also known as Beijing's National Speed Skating Oval; and #Olympics, which will add a tiny Olympic laurel with Olympic colors.
There are many others also activiated for the Games, including mini firework shows for the opening and closing ceremonies (#OpeningCeremony and #ClosingCeremony, respectively); mini mascot icons for both the Olympics and Paralympics, #BingDwenDwen and #ShueyRhonRhon; and Olympic medals for #gold, #silver and #bronze.
Lastly, there are icons for every Winter Olympic sport taking place at Beijing, too. You can use any one of these to add a tiny red square with an athlete inside.
What Are the Alternatives for Olympic Emojis?
If you don't want to rely on Twitter or other apps where you can create customizable emojis, like Slack, there are already some universal emojis you can use for many of the events at the Winter Olympics, including country flags.
Check out some of the most fitting below:
- 🥇 - 1st Place Medal
- 🥈 - 2nd Place Medal
- 🥉 - 3rd Place Medal
- 🥌 - Curling Stone
- 🥅 - Goal Net
- 🧊 - Ice
- 🏒 - Ice Hockey
- ⛸️ - Ice Skate
- 🎿 - Skis
- ⛷ - Skier
- 🛷 - Sled
- 🏂 - Snowboarder
- 🏟 - Stadium