The mascots of Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games are inspired by the Brazilian fauna and flora. They feature various influences from pop culture, along with elements of animation and computer game characters. The mascots are ambassadors for the Games and play a fundamental role in disseminating the messages of the event and the values of the Olympic and Paralympic Movements to various target audiences, especially children and young people.
The origin of the Rio 2016 mascots blends fiction and reality. According to the story, on 2 October 2009, when Rio de Janeiro was elected to host the Games, the people’s great joy was felt by nature and from this energy the mascots were born.
The Olympic mascot represents all of the different animals in Brazil. The Paralympic mascot, in turn, is a unique mixture of the Brazilian flora. To create them, the Rio 2016 Organising Committee held a national bidding process. To sign off and ensure the authenticity of the mascot selection process, they invited Anima Mundi Festival directors to be consultants. Birdo Produções, from São Paulo, won the bidding process and created the project.
After the mascots’ unveiling, a poll to decide their names was opened. Everyone can vote for their choice from a shortlist of three pairs of names, one for the Olympic mascot, the other for the Paralympic mascot, respectively. The name choices are Oba and Eba; Tiba Tuque and Esquindim; and Vinicius and Tom. People can vote at www.rio2016.com/mascots as well as on the Rio 2016 Twitter feed (@Rio2016).
“The mascots are one of the most representative symbols of the Games. Their purpose is to delight and engage the audience, particularly the children”, says Carlos Arthur Nuzman, president of the Rio 2016 Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games. The Rio 2016 mascots will have their own website and profiles on social media.