The Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic mascots have been revealed as two Phrygian caps decked out in France’s national colours. The two characters, who are to be known as the Olympic and Paralympic Phryges, have the golden Paris 2024 logo across their chests, and are described as having “mischievous and expressive eyes”. The Paralympic mascot has a running blade, making it the first time that a mascot for the Games has had a visible disability.
At the ceremony to unveil the mascots in Saint-Denis on Monday, the Paris 2024 president, Tony Estanguet, said: “We chose an ideal rather than an animal. We chose the Phrygian cap because it’s a very strong symbol for the French Republic. For French people, it’s a very well-known object that is a symbol of freedom.
“The fact that the Paralympics mascot has a visible disability also sends a strong message: to promote inclusion.”
The two mascots share a motto of “Alone we go faster, but together we go further”, and the Olympic Phryge is described as “a tactician with a calculating brain”, while the Paralympic Phryge is “spontaneous and full of energy and enthusiasm”.
The official IOC website helpfully explains that their name is to be pronounced “fri-jee-uhs”.
The IOC recognises official Olympic mascots since the introduction of Schuss, an abstract figure on skis for 1968 Winter Olympics in Grenoble. The first officially recognised mascot for a summer Olympics was Waldi, a multi-coloured dachshund dog created by Elena Winschermann for the 1972 Munich Games. Athletes are often given small replica toys of the mascot as part of the medal ceremony.
Mascots can be big business – although are not always a sure bet. In 2012, disappointing sales of Hornby’s figurines of official London Games mascots, Wenlock and Mandeville, led to the toy manufacturer’s shares tumbling.
Julie Matikhine, the brand manager of the Paris 2024 Games, said of the Phryges: “It is a mascot who embodies the French spirit. An ideal that carries the values of our country, a part of our history and a singular point of view on the world.”
The 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris will run from 26 July and will end 11 August, with the Paralympics following from 28 August to 8 September. Organisers have promised unique opening ceremonies that will take place in the city rather than in the stadium and many Paris landmarks including the Grand Palais and the Eiffel Tower are set to be used as venues for the event.