Soohorang and Bandabi are the official mascots of the 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

By Nora Horvath
Updated February 09, 2018
2018 Winter Olympics flags
Credit: LOIC VENANCE/Getty Images

In every Olympic Games since 1968, a mascot is created to represent the spirit of the Games and the country that is hosting. The 2018 Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea are represented by Soohorang, a white tiger.

According to the official Olympics website, “Sooho,” which means protection in Korean, is meant to symbolize protection to the athletes, spectators, and everyone else involced in the Games this year. “Rang” comes from the Korean word for tiger, “Ho-rang-i” and is also the last letter in “Jeong-seon A-ri-rang”, a traditional folk song of Gangwon Province, where the Games will be held.

“Soohorang not only has a challenging spirit and passion, but is also a trustworthy friend who protects the athletes, spectators and all the participants of the Olympic Games,” the Olympics website says.

The Paralympic Games also have their own unique mascots. The 2018 Paralympic mascot is an Asiatic black bear named “Bandabi,” who is a symbol of strong will and courage.

Previous Olympic mascots included Vinicius in 2016, who was a creature created from a mix of different animals from Brazil; The Hare, the Polar Bear and the Leopard during Sochi 2014, a trio of animals that symbolized the three places on the Olympic podium; and Wenlock during the London 2012 Games, an abstract creature that is metallic in color to symbolize the last drop of steel used to build the Olympic Stadium.