When I compare the consistency and legibility of Olympic icons through the years, I have come to the conclusion, (with a few exceptions) simple equals clarity.
The 1948 London logos are more illustrations than icons, and consistency seems to be a lacking as well. Some logos include the athletes and excessive detail, while others lack both. In contrast, the 1964 Tokyo icons are simple, clear and consistent. All the logos were created from solid geometric shapes. Extraneous details have been left out and the effect is surprisingly refreshing. 1968 Mexico designs have also achieved clarity and consistency; the silhouetted icons are a quick read even with the incorporation of patterns and a glorious color palette characteristic of the Aztec Indians. 1968 Grenoble logos seem to have a consistent feel of movement and excitement, but clarity may be a problem. I am unable to decipher at least one of the icons since the pattern is so intense. 1972 Munich/1976 Montreal are undeniably simple, yet full of joyful angles to suggest movement; 1984 Los Angeles and 1988 Seoul have a similar feel, as well. And lastly, 1996 Atlanta consists of clean silhouettes with a repeated space between one of the legs and the torso. The body proportions seem accurate to give the logos an illustrative feel.