The official mascots for the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, the white tiger “Soohorang” and the Asiatic black bear “Bandabi,” are ready to meet their friends and share the Olympic winter sports experience.
The PyeongChang Organizing Committee for the 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (POCOG) announced its nationwide mascot promotion tour and held its first event at the Hoenggye Elementary School located in the Host City PyeongChang on July 18. It was the first time that full-sized mascots made their public appearance, and the fact that host city children were the first audience to meet them made the occasion more meaningful. For the 150 students, joined by Korea’s former and current national team athletes including POCOG Honorary Ambassador and 2010 Olympic figure skating champion KIM Yu-na, the event was an exciting opportunity to trigger interest in Olympic winter sports among the youths and shed light on their athletic potential.
The mascots’ first public staging event included a mini winter sports expo for the students to actually experience Olympic winter sports, covering a variety of relevant disciplines including rifle shooting for biathlon, sled riding for luge, and a VR (Virtual Reality) experience for ski-jumping. Professional athletes served as daily instructors and showed the students how to better perform the sports. Students gathered in the gym were amused and delighted with joy when trying out the sports, especially, Wheelchair Curling, one of the Paralympic sports displayed on the day to raise awareness of the opportunities for the physically impaired.
POCOG President LEE Hee-beom, said, “Today’s event was thrown to publicly show our mascots, “Soohorang” and “Bandabi,” as symbols to communicate and interact with the world. In order to work up the Olympic excitement, the tour will also hit the Rio Games for more active international promotion and reach major cities and festivals in Korea.”
The mascots, “Soohorang” as the Olympic mascot and “Bandabi” as the Paralympic mascot, were first introduced in early June after being approved by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Board and the International Paralympic Committee (IPC). Given the hyped atmosphere surrounding the mascots, all eyes are on their forthcoming performances.