July 18, 2016 / 9:45 AM / 3 years ago

'Soohorang' and 'Bandabi' unveiled as Pyeongchang 2018 mascots

The Pyeongchang Organizing Committee for the 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (POCOG) Honorary Ambassador Kim Yuna (C) poses for photographs with mascots "Soohorang" and "Bandabi" during their launching ceremony in Pyeongchang, South Korea, July 18, 2016. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

(Reuters) - A white tiger named ‘Soohorang’ and an Asian black bear called ‘Bandabi’ were unveiled on Monday as the two mascots for the 2018 Winter Olympics and Paralympics in Pyeongchang.

“Soohorang and Bandabi will be your good friends and promote the Pyeongchang Olympic Games to the whole world,” Lee hee-beom, president of the Games organizing committee, told students during a ceremony at Hoeng Gye elementary school in Pyeongchang.

Soohorang’s name is derived from the Korean words for ‘protection’ (Sooho) and ‘tiger’ (ho-rang-i).

The white tiger is considered a sacred guardian animal in South Korea, with some locals considering the Korean peninsula to be tiger-shaped.

The 1988 Seoul Olympics also featured a tiger mascot.

Paralympic Games mascot “Bandabi” represents courage and strong willpower, organizers said.

The Pyeongchang 2018 Olympic Winter Games will be held from Feb. 9-25.

Reporting by Minwoo Park. Editing by Patrick Johnston

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