Maybe you guys already knew this, but the Olympics always have a universal mascot. Don't you just love that? I can't imagine the pressure of the person inside the costume. Like, "No big deal, but the whole world is watching." This year, the 2018 Winter Olympics' mascot is a white tiger named Sooharang, and he's cute as hell.
The Olympic mascot is always an animal or character that's symbolic of the host country and its culture. This year, the 2018 Winter Olympics is taking place in PyeongChang, South Korea, which is really, really cold. According to Olympic.org, white tigers have traditionally popped up in Korean folktales in the form of a guardian or protector. Tigers also symbolize trust and strength. (Cool little bonus, the color white is seasonally appropriate for the Winter Games, which take place in snowy, icy places. Obvi.)
Additionally, the name "Soohorang" is not an accident. The Korean word "sooho" means "protection," and "rang" comes from the Korean word for "tiger," which is "ho-rang-i." In short, Soohorang is a protector of the 2018 Winter Olympics. Olympics.org goes on to explain the word "rang" is also part of the name for traditional folk music from the PyeongChang area. The music is called "Jeongseon Arirang."
Everybody still with me?
Soohorang made his big debut in July at special events in Seoul and PyeongChang. Chair of the IOC Coordination Commission for the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 Gunilla Lindberg 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.
Like traditional mascots, Soohorang is there to keep everyone pumped about the Winter Games and viewers watching from home engaged and happy. Be sure to spot him at the Opening Ceremonies taking place tomorrow, Feb. 9, on NBC. While the actual show is a secret, we know the rundown will look something like this:
- Entry by the head of state
- Playing of the national anthem
- The parade of participants
- The symbolic release of pigeons
- The head of state declares the Games open
- Raising the Olympic flag and playing the Olympic anthem
- The taking of the Olympic oath by an athlete
- The taking of the Olympic oath by an official
- The taking of the Olympic oath by a coach
- The Olympic flame and the torch relay
- The artistic program
Along with Soohorang, viewers can expect to see a beautiful performance by Korean R&B artist, Insooni, who is singing the torch relay song. The song is titled "Let Everyone Shine," and just like the mascot, the song is designed to inspire and unite the Olympic athletes and the world.
Some of the "Let Everyone Shine" lyrics are:
All of us gathered here share one dream / It is the moment to rise again, and follow the flame / With a shining dream deep inside of you / Together we can move forward one step at a time / When all our dreams come together / and shine as one bright flame
Let everyone shine / Let everyone shine and shine / Lighting up every corner of the world / Let everyone shine / Let everyone shine and shine / Shining on you, here and now / All the time
Our stories filled with dreams and passion / Will lead to new goals and hope for tomorrow / When all our dreams come together / and shine as one bright flame
Let everyone shine / Let everyone shine and shine
Tune in for all the fun beginning at 8 p.m. EST on NBC. Go get it, Soohorang!
To learn more, visit teamusa.org. The Winter Olympics will air live starting February 8.
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