BEIJING – China has chosen its most iconic animal — the panda — to be the official mascot of the Beijing Olympics in 2022.
The mascot, named Bing Dwen Dwen, is a chubby giant panda wearing a suit of ice. The black and white bear has a “heart of gold and a love of all things winter sports,” tweeted the Beijing Organizing Committee for the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.
For the Paralympic Winter Games, the mascot is a blushing red lantern named “Shuey Rhon Rhon.”
Beijing will be the first city to host both summer and winter Games, after winning the bid in 2015, beating out underdog Almaty.
The Chinese capital held the summer Olympics in 2008 in what was then seen as China sealing its place on the world stage as an emerging superpower.
Beijing will have to rely on the widespread use of artificial snow for the Winter Games and has said it will budget $1.5 billion for investment in Olympic villages, sports venues, and other infrastructure.
The country is also building a high-speed train link from Beijing to Zhangjiakou, a city northwest of the capital where many mountain events will be held.
Some of Beijing’s 2008 venues, however, including its iconic Bird’s Nest national stadium, will be reused for the 2022 Games.