By Chesney Hearst, Senior Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – On the night of Sunday, November 23rd, the 2016 Rio Organizing Committee revealed the official mascots for the Olympic and Paralympic games. The two mascots, a yellow creature chosen for the Olympic Games and a green and blue being picked for the Paralympic games, stand for Brazil’s wide variety of animals and plants.

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The 2016 Rio Olympic and Paralympic mascots represent the diverse flora and fauna found in Brazil, photo by Alex Ferro/Rio 2016 press image.

The official unveiling of the 2016 Rio mascots followed a flurry of activity featuring former Olympic mascots appearing around the city at famed Rio tourist locations.

“The Rio 2016 mascots represent the diversity of our culture, of our people,” Rio 2016 brand director Beth Lula said in a prepared statement. “They represent our joy, our way of being. Both of them are magical creatures with super powers and relate naturally with the young audience, who we want to engage with our event so much.”

The Rio 2016 website now features interactive pages aimed at that targeted younger audience with each mascot explaining their origin stories, their “special powers,” their hobbies, their habitats and their goals.

The Paralympic mascot states that it is a “magical creature, a fusion of all the plants in the Brazilian forests,” and that is was “born out of the explosion of happiness when we found out that the Paralympic Games were coming to Rio, on October 2, 2009.”

On another page, the Olympic mascot explains that it also was born out of the explosion of happiness and is a “mixture of all the Brazilian animals.”

The two mascots were created by São Paulo-based design and animation company, Birdo Produções. The Rio 2016 committee selected their design from the submitted proposals, with help from directors from the well known Anima Mundi animation festival.

Currently both mascots remain nameless. The public is asked to help name them by voting for one of three sets of names. The choices are Oba and Eba, Tiba Tuque and Esquindim, and Vinicius and Tom. Voting will remain open until December 14th.



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