Beijing officially launched the mascot for the 2022 Winter Olympic Games. And it is a cheerful panda called Bing Dwen Dwen.
And why that name? According to the official website, ‘Bing’ means ice and it also symbolises strength and purity and ‘Dwen Dwen’ represents children.
The choice of the panda was not a surprise as the animal is considered a national treasure in China.
But its significance is beyond just the name. Bing Dwen Dwen has a heart shape in its left palm, which symbolises the hospitality and the warmth of the host nation. There are resplendent and colourful halos around its face that represent ice and snow sports tracks. But they also are a symbol of advanced technologies and connectivity. Also, overall, the panda looks like an astronaut, which is a representation of the future with unlimited possibilities.
The mascot for the Paralympic Games was also released. It is a beautiful red lantern child called ‘Shuey Rhon Rhon.’ The name signifies warmth, friendship, courage, and perseverance. ‘Shuey’ means snow in Chinese, and ‘Rhon Rhon’ means inclusiveness and integration. The lantern design has special importance because the Paralympic Games are due to be held three days after the Chinese New Year, which is synonymous with lanterns.
These two mascots were released in a ceremony attended by Chinese Vice Premier Han Zheng and IOC President Thomas Bach in Beijing, the capital of China.
At the ceremony, Bach said, “The mascot incorporates the best elements and characteristics of China and the Chinese people. What I can say already is that it will be a wonderful ambassador for China and the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022.”
The two mascots were chosen from over 5,000 designs that were submitted by artists across the globe. After a rigorous selection process, Bing Dwen Dwen and Shuey Rhon Rhon, created by teams from the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts and Jilin University of the Arts respectively, were chosen as the winners.