The Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic mascots emerged as two Phrygian hats decorated with France’s national colors. The two characters, known as Olympic and Paralympic Phryges, have the gold Paris 2024 logo on their chests and are described as having “mischievous and expressive looks”. The Paralympic mascot has a working blade, making it the first time a mascot for the Games has had a visible injury.
At the inauguration ceremony of the mascots in Saint-Denis on Monday, Paris 2024 president Tony Estanguet said: “We chose an ideal rather than an animal. We chose the Phrygian hat because it is such a powerful symbol for the French Republic. It is a very well-known object, a symbol of freedom for the French. The fact that the Paralympic mascot has a visible disability also sends a strong message: promoting inclusion.”
The two mascots share the motto “Alone we go faster, but together we go further” and Olympic Phryge is described as “a tactician with a calculating mind” while Paralympic Phryge is “spontaneous and full of energy and enthusiasm”. .
The official IOC website helpfully explains that their name should be pronounced “fri-jee-uhs.”
The IOC has recognized official Olympic mascots since the introduction of Schuss, an abstract figure on skis, for the 1968 Winter Olympics in Grenoble. The first officially recognized mascot for the Summer Olympics was Waldi, a multicolored 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 not always a sure bet. In 2012, disappointing sales of Hornby’s figurines of official London Games mascots Wenlock and Mandeville caused the toymaker’s shares to plummet.
Julie Matikhine, brand manager of the Paris 2024 Games, said of Phryges: “A mascot that embodies the French spirit. It is an ideal that carries the values of our country, a piece of our history and a singular perspective on the world.”
The 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris will start from Friday, July 26 and end on Sunday, August 11, followed by the Paralympic Games from Wednesday, August 28 to Sunday, September 8. Organizers promised unique opening ceremonies in the city instead of the stadium, and many of Paris’ landmarks, including the Grand Palais and the Eiffel Tower, have opened as event venues.