A pair of futuristic superheroes triumphed in the race to become mascots for the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the Tokyo 2020 organizers revealed here on Wednesday.
The winners were selected by 109,041 elementary kids from across the country out of a shortlist of three competitors. It is the first time in Olympic history that pupils have the final say in selecting the mascot. The names of the mascots are yet to be decided.
The Olympic Mascot is a fox-like creature with blue and white checks. It "has a strong sense of justice, and is very athletic" and its superpower allows it "to move any where instantaneously," Tokyo 2020 said in a statement.
The pink-checked Paralympic Mascot is derived from the attractive cherry blossom of Japan. The nature lover not only "can talk with stones and the wind", but also possesses the supernatural power of "moving things by just looking at them," said the press release.
The release immediately triggered heated discussion in the mascot-mad country. Although some of the comments on social media said they expect "more round" and more "huggable" characters, Ryohei Miyata, chair of the Mascot Selection Panel, believes the winning design is a vivid presentation of Tokyo 2020's brand: "innovation from harmony."
With the Tokyo Olympics 900 days away, the committee says it hopes the release of the mascots can spur global attention in the upcoming world sporting extravaganza.