Does This 2012 Olympics Logo Look Like 'Zion' to You?

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When the organizers of the 2012 Olympics in London unveiled the logo for the Games in 2007, they proudly declared that the jagged-edged, off-kilter, graffiti-inspired emblem--which was based on the number 2012 and cost a reported $800,000 to design--would embody "the dynamic Olympic spirit and its inspirational ability to reach out to people all over the world." The logo's sure reached out to people across the world, but perhaps not in the way the organizers had hoped. Instead, it's become one giant Rorschach test; people, it seems, see everything in the logo except the number 2012.

In the latest development, Mohammad Aliabadi, head of Iran's National Olympic Committee, has charged in a letter to the International Olympic Committee that the logo is "racist" and "revolting" because it spells not 2012 but "Zion," a biblical term referring to Jerusalem. Aliabadi threatened that Iran would boycott the Olympics unless the organizers replaced the logo.

But where Aliabadi sees "Zion," others see, well, other things. Here are some examples:

Nazi Symbols: When organizers first unveiled the logo, the BBC heard from a Jewish caller who claimed the emblem looked like the Nazi SS symbol. Other websites compared the logo to a distorted swastika.

Sexual Simpsons: One Buzzfeed user glanced at the logo and saw Lisa Simpson engaging in a sexual act with her brother, Bart. We won't go into the details.

A Pianist or Dinosaur: Metro created a game in which readers could re-arrange the logo's shapes into other objects. Entries included a triceratops and a "reclining jazz man."

Seizure-Inducing: Organizers yanked animated footage of the logo after the flashing lights and multi-colored images caused more than 10 seizures among people with photosensitive epilepsy in 2007.

We could really go on and on. A Facebook page for people who oppose the logo notes that the design has been described alternatively as "an arrangement of beer mats, a window kicked in by a football, a graffiti tag, a toileting monkey and a scribbled joke."

We at the Wire have looked for the word "Zion" in the logo, but what we're seeing looks more like "Zior," suggesting that the 2012 Olympics organizers are subliminally telling us to check out an "obscure progressive/heavy rock group" with hit singles such as "Za Za Za Zilda."

You be the judge. Here's a photo of the logo from Getty:

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