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History of the Olympic & Paralympic Mascots

Illustration of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Mascots: Maraitawa

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The Olympic and Paralympic mascots are fictional characters—usually an animal native to the area or human figures—who represent the cultural heritage of the place where the Olympic and Paralympic Games are taking place.

The first Olympic mascot was born at the Grenoble Olympic Games in 1968. It was named "Schuss" and was a little man on skis, designed in an abstract form and painted the colors of France (blue, red, and white). Starting in 1968, the coherent design system was introduced for the XIX Olympiad in Mexico. Building on the graphical success,  1972 Olympics in Munich introduced Waldi, a Dachshund dog, which was a popular breed in Bavaria and represented the attributes required for athletes—resistance, tenacity, and agility. It contained three of the colors of the Olympic flag (blue, yellow, green). From 1972 to date, every Olympics has featured a mascot the represents the feel of the games and something of the host city.

The success of those first mascots helped the idea of a mascot become a symbol of the Olympic Games and developed into an institution. 

Tokyo Olympic Mascot: Maraitowa

The 2020 Olympic mascot is called Miraitowa, which is derived from the Japanese words mirai (future) and towa (eternity). This name was chosen to promote a future full of eternal hope in the hearts of people all over the world.

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