Meet “Soohorang,” the New Mascot for PyeongChang
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Board today approved the new mascot for the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang — a white tiger named “Soohorang.”
In selecting a tiger as mascot, the PyeongChang Organising Committee chose an animal closely associated with Korean mythology and culture. The tiger has been a familiar figure in Korean folk tales as a symbol of trust, strength and protection.
In mythology, the white tiger was viewed as a guardian that helped protect the country and its people. The mascot’s colour also evokes its connection to the snow and ice of winter sports.
The name “Soohorang” has additional significance. “Sooho,” the Korean word for “protection”, alludes to the protection of athletes, spectators and other Games participants.
“Rang” derives from the Korean word “ho-rang-i”, which means “tiger”. “Rang” also appears in “Jeongseon Arirang”, the traditional folk music of Gangwon Province, where PyeongChang is located.
IOC Member Gunilla Lindberg, the Chair of the IOC Coordination Commission for the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang, praised the mascot choice. She said, “It’s a beautiful animal, strongly associated with Korean culture. It also symbolises the close link between the Olympic Winter Games and the natural environment. I’m sure the new mascot will be very popular with Koreans and people around the world.”
The mascot selection had been a closely held secret until its approval by the IOC Executive Board. PyeongChang will formally introduce the mascot at events in Seoul and PyeongChang in July, before its international debut at the 2018 PyeongChang House at the Olympic Games Rio 2016 in August.
The 1988 Seoul Games also featured a tiger mascot – “Hodori”, an orange Amur tiger who prevailed over a rabbit, a squirrel and a pair of mandarin ducks in a public competition.
Mascots have been a regular feature of the Olympic Games since the first official Olympic mascot — a dachshund — was created for the 1972 Munich Games. They serve as popular and playful ambassadors for the host nation and contribute to the festive Games atmosphere.