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Paralympic sports - 30. November 2007.

Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Mascot Launched

Bonn, Germany - Months of mystery and anticipation finally ended yesterday as hundreds of local schoolchildren were the first to personally meet Sumi, Miga and Quatchi, the mascots for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in Vancouver, Canada.

Sumi, the Paralympic Mascot, is an animal spirit who wears the hat of the orca whale, flies with the wings of the mighty thunderbird and runs on the furry legs of the black bear. With a name that is derived from the Salish word 'sumesh,' meaning 'guardian spirit,' Sumi is passionate about the environment and is a fan of all Paralympic sports.

Miga, a snowboarding sea bear, and Quatchi, a shy and gentle giant, both mascots for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games, were presented at the same time.

Designed by the Vancouver-based company Meomi Design, the Olympic and Paralympic Mascots were inspired by Aboriginal mythological creatures and also strongly influenced by popular culture, modern animation styles, the Olympic and Paralympic Movements, the culture and wildlife of British Columbia and Canada and the artists' own imagination. Each of the creatures is unique, both in personality and physical appearance.

Joining the three mascots is a friend, or 'sidekick,' by the name of Mukmuk. Mukmuk is a rare marmot unique to the mountains of Vancouver Island. While he's not officially a mascot, Mukmuk is considered an honourary member of the team and enjoys surprising his friends by popping up on occasion to share in the spirit and fun of the Games.

People across Canada and around the world are able to meet the mascots on a specially designed mascot 'microsite' at www.vancouver2010.com. The microsite includes exciting child-friendly features such as an animated mascot video, character profiles, an online game, a mascot-related personality quiz, interactive e-cards, colouring pages and more.

"Miga, Quatchi and Sumi are ambassadors for Canada and we are thrilled to introduce them to Canadians and people from around the world," said John Furlong, CEO for the Vancouver 2010 Organizing Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC). "Great care has been taken in developing and designing these Vancouver 2010 characters. They will tell a unique story about the Games and they will appeal to children across Canada and around the world. The mascots truly represent the people, geography and spirit of British Columbia and Canada, while personifying the essence of the 2010 Winter Games."

The mascots are a key component of the Games identity and a playful way to engage a young audience and, at the same time, increase understanding of the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. The mascot launch represents a significant milestone on the road to staging the 2010 Winter Games.

Said Sir Philip Craven, President of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC): "The mascot for the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games is an excellent choice and I am sure that it will be loved by children all over the world. It represents the values of the Paralympic Movement, but also links to the Aboriginal Canadian culture and tradition."

The second phase of the www.vancouver2010.com mascot programme is scheduled for 2008, when additional online games and interactive features will be added. The online programme takes traditional Games mascots to a new level, leveraging the reach of the internet so that children around the world can experience the mascots.

The mascots will also be featured in the December issue of /EDU (at www.vancouver2010.com/edu), an online portal dedicated to connecting teachers, students and schools while celebrating the spirit of the 2010 Winter Games.

The mascots will now make appearances across Canada as ambassadors of the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, inviting Canadians from coast to coast to celebrate Vancouver 2010, as well as bringing fun and goodwill to events leading up to the Games. At Games time, these friendly figures will make appearances throughout the Vancouver region and the Sea-to-Sky corridor, offering a warm welcome to all.
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