Why are Olympians Being Given Stuffed Animals, Rather Than Medals, After Their Events?

If you’ve been watching the Olympics in a bar with the sound off, or catching snippets on your phone, you may have been puzzled by this sight: After each event’s conclusion, the three winners line up in the snow, and are very ceremoniously handed…a small stuffed animal. No medals are produced.

So what’s going on here? First off that stuffed animal is a white tiger named Soohorang, the Pyeongchang Olympics’ mascot.

In Korean folklore, white tigers (which, historically, may have wandered into the area from Siberia) represent sacred guardians. Soohorang’s name loosely translates as “protective tiger.” And some graphic designer or illustrator has been contracted to work him into the branding.

Amusingly, the folks dressed as the mascots have trouble getting through certain doors.

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In any case, at the Summer Olympics individual winners are usually medaled right after the event, whereas traditionally Winter Olympians are given flowers. This year flowers were foregone in favor of stuffed Soohorangs (which makes me cynically think that someone on the IOC has a relative who owns a stuffed animal factory).

The flowers/Soohorangs are just a placeholder; with the Winter Olympics, the medal ceremonies are held en masse and at day’s end, indoors, where it’s warmer.

Thus far I’ve only been posting photos of Team U.S.A., but I wanted to show some love to our one Canadian reader. Go Team Canada!

Source:: Core77.com