Pigeons and doves have a long history with the Olympics. From 700 BC to 300 AD homing pigeons were used in the Olympic games. In fact, the quickest way to share the results were by homing pigeon.
Doves were released as a symbol of peace after the cauldron was lit at the opening ceremony of the Summer Olympic Games in 1986. This became a tradition from 1920. At the 1988 Seoul Games the order was reversed and many doves were inadvertently burnt alive, causing an outcry from animal welfare charities, resulting in the end of the tradition.
At the London 2012 Olympic Games the message of peace was symbolised by the ‘release’ of the Dove bikes: 75 riders who rode around the stadium ring wearing large dove wings:
For more information please visit: Opening Ceremony: The secrets behind the ‘dove bikes’