Russians invited to design Sochi 2014 Olympics mascot

The Olympic Committee of Russia has launched a contest for the future mascot of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games.

All citizens of Russia are invited to send in their drafts of a mascot that will represent the first-ever Winter Olympic games to be hosted by Russia, the Sochi 2014 organizing committee announced.

The worldwide Olympic symbols are the Olympic fire and the five Olympic rings. However, since 1968 it’s been tradition for each country that hosts the Games to design an Olympic mascot, most usually portraying a local animal, such as the American bald eagle of 1984 or the Canadian polar bears of 1988.

The Sochi 2014 mascot can be an animal, human figure or basically any animate or inanimate object that symbolizes Russian culture, represents the Olympic values and evokes positive emotions.

“We hope the new mascot will be as good as the Olympic bear,” said Dmitry Chernyshenko, head of the Committee, making reference to Misha the Bear, the well-known mascot designed by the Soviet Union for the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow.

The contest starts September 1 and ends December 5; a jury will select the winner by early February.

Drafts are welcome in any technique, and can be submitted either via the official website of the Sochi mascot contest or by regular mail.

Contest participants are welcome to send as many suggestions as they wish.

The gallery of submitted works is available on the contest’s website, where online voting has already begun.

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