Beijing 2022 has launched a global competition to design the mascots for the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, among activities to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of Beijing's hosting of the 2008 Olympics.
At a ceremony held in the city's Olympic Park on Wednesday, Beijing 2022 President Cai Qi declared the competition officially open, inviting people from around the world to devise original designs for these ambassadors of the Games.
"Join the design competition to find the mascot of the 2022 Olympic Winter Games. We trust that you will produce a fun mascot which will fascinate people around the globe and will be a great example for sports, and winter sports in particular," said Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee, in a video at the ceremony.
Andrew Parsons, president of the International Paralympic Committee, also invited designers from all over the world to submit their proposals for the Beijing 2022 mascots.
"The Games are in a beautiful city in an incredible country. It is very important to have a mascot that represents the excitement the whole world has regarding these Games," Parsons said.
Historically, the Olympic mascots have been among the most memorable symbols of the Games. Beijing 2022 is expected to unveil the winning designs in the second half of 2019 as designers could submit their proposals from October 20-31, 2018, in person or by mail.
The launch ceremony for the design competition was held as part of an event to mark the 10th anniversary of the 2008 Olympic Games which opened in Beijing on August 8, 2008. The anniversary celebration also coincided with China's 10th National Fitness Day, providing a fitting setting to look ahead to Beijing 2022 while celebrating the legacy of Beijing 2008.
The ceremony and celebrations took place in the plaza between the "Bird's Nest" National Stadium and the "Water Cube" National Aquatics Center. These two iconic Beijing 2008 venues will be used for the Olympic Winter Games in 2022, serving as the venue for the opening and closing ceremonies and curling, respectively.
When the new school year begins in September, elementary and secondary school students across China will be encouraged to create their own mascots for the Games in art classes, as part of Beijing 2022's Olympic Education Program to engage more young people with the Games.