By Todd Kortemeier | Sept. 17, 2019, 12:17 p.m. (ET)

The Beijing Organizing Committee celebrating the announcement of the official Olympic and Paralympic Games Beijing 2022 mascots, Bing Dwen Dwen and Shuey Rhon Rhon, on Sept. 17, 2019 in Beijing, China.

 

When Beijing last hosted an Olympic Games in 2008, the Giant Panda was just one of a group of five mascots called the Fuwa.

But China’s national symbol will take center stage for the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022. A smiling panda named Bing Dwen Dwen was announced Tuesday as the official mascot of the Games. Taking its name from bing meaning “ice” and dwen dwen which refers to children, the panda wears a suit of ice and has a heart on its left paw to welcome guests to China.

“The mascot incorporates the best elements and characteristics of China and the Chinese people,” said International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach. “What I can say already is that it will be a wonderful ambassador for China and the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022.”

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Bing Dwen Dwen will be joined in its ambassadorship by Shuey Rhon Rhon, the mascot for the Paralympic Winter Games. Decked out in red and gold, Shuey Rhon Rhon is a lantern child, wearing a suit reminiscent of the famous Chinese lantern. Its name in Chinese symbolizes warmth and friendship.

The Beijing 2022 organizing committee chose Bing Dwen Dwen and Shuey Rhon Rhon out of nearly 6,000 proposed designs coming from 35 different countries. With the Games less than three years away, the mascot reveal is far from the first step in the organizing process. Some venues are already nearing completion with the first test event, an alpine skiing world cup, scheduled for February.

Todd Kortemeier is a sportswriter, editor and children’s book author from Minneapolis. He is a contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.