Phevos and Athena
The names of the two mascots are a reference to two gods of Olympus: “Phevos” is another name for Apollo, the god of light and music; Athena is the goddess of wisdom and protector of the city of Athens. The two mascots thus symbolise the link between Ancient Greece and the Olympic Games of the modern era.
Phevos and Athena are brother and sister. They owe their strange shape to a typical terracotta doll in the shape of a bell from the 7th century BC, the “daidala”. They symbolise the pleasure of playing and the values of Olympism. The choice of a brother and sister was deliberate: they embody the unity of men and women, through equality and brotherhood. Phevos wears a blue tunic to recall the sea and the colour of the Games emblem, while Athena is in orange to evoke the sun and the Paralympic emblem.
Spiros Gogos, Paragraph Design
In Ancient Greece, as well as being children’s toys, daidala had a symbolic function. Before they got married, girls would sacrifice their doll and their dress to the gods for purity and fertility. The example which inspired the mascots is displayed at the National Archaeological Museum in Athens.
A competition was held to design the mascot. In all, 196 proposals were submitted by design agencies and professionals from all over the world.