No Olympics is complete without a lovable, cuddly mascot that easily translates into stuffed toys, video game characters and other such merchandise. The mascots also traditionally represent aspects of the host nations culture too.
The Beijing Olympics has decided to go with not one, but five Olympic mascots collectively called the Fuwa or good-luck dolls. The mascots have been designed and named as metaphors for Chinese culture, local wildlife and the Olympic movement itself.
Each Fuwa is coloured after an Olympic ring, represents an element in nature and is modelled after unique Chinese fauna.
The mascots have now been portrayed in a hit animation television series released nationally in China since August 2007.
As we approach the Olympics the mascots can be expected to play a significant role in Olympics communication and in the television broadcast package. Not to mention central roles in the inauguration ceremonies.
The slideshow is your guide to the five Fuwa and their fun interpretation!
Five Fuwa: Beibei, Jingjing, Huanhuan, Yingying, Nini. The mascots were designed by Chinese artist Han Meilin.
Beibei is a blue Chinese sturgeon symbolizing water and prosperity. The mascot will represent all water sports.
Jingjing is a black Giant Panda symbolizing happiness and the natural element wood. The mascot will represent all competitions involving strength like Judo and wrestling.
Huanhuan is a red Olympic Flame symbolizing passion and fire. The mascot will represent all ball sports.
Yingying is a yellow rare Tibetan antelope symbolizing health and earth the element. The mascot will represent all track and field sports.
Nini is a green swallow symbolizing good fortune and the sky. The mascot will represent all gymnastic sports.
When you combine all the first syllables of the names of the mascots you get: Beijing Huanying Ni, which is identical to the Chinese phrase for Beijing Welcomes You!
(Images Copyright: The Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad)