The 2018 Winter Olympics have officially kicked off. With the entire world glued to their screens from the beginning of the Opening Ceremony, many are wondering the skinny on this year’s mascot, a white tiger named Soohorang.
#Soohorang, a white tiger, is a mascot for the 2018 Winter Olympics in 📍 PyeongChang 🇰🇷 The white tiger is Korea's guardian animal and protects the athletes of the Games.⠀ ⠀ Today, the 9th of February, is the opening ceremony of this year's Winter Olympic Games ⠀ 📷 photo thanks to @juegosolimpicos ⠀ #FlyWithASAPtickets
The Olympics always have a universal mascot to amp up the crowd and show spirit, so when this year’s mascot, an adorable white tiger named Soohorang made its debut, we decided to get the full deets on this cute little cub.
For the Olympics, the mascot is always a character or animal that’s symbolic of the host country’s culture. This year’s Games are being held in PyeongChang, South Korea (which we hear is ridiculously cold). According to the Olympics website, the reason they went with the white tiger as their mascot is because white tigers are commonly seen in Korean folktales as a guardian or protector. Tigers also symbolize trust and strength. Add in the seasonally appropriate color white to correlate with the Winter Games, and thus we have the white tiger representing as this year’s Winter Olympics mascot.
As for the name, Soohorang, there’s a special meaning behind that as well. The Korean word “sooho” means protection and “rang” comes from the Korean word for tiger, “ho-rang-i.” So basically, Soohorang’s name literally means “the protector,” which is what Soohorang is for the 2018 Winter Olympics. The word “rang” also is a part of the name for traditional folk music in PyeongChang. The music’s official name is called “Jeongseon Arirang.”
With the whole world watching, you’d think Soohorang would be a stressed tiger, but actually, this isn’t it’s first big appearance. The white tiger made his debut back in July at special events in Seoul and PyeongChang.
Chair of the IOC Coordination Commission for the Olympic Winter Games Gunilla Lindberg thinks Soohorang will be a big hit at the Winter Olympics saying, “It’s a beautiful animal, strongly associated with Korean culture. It also symbolizes the close link between the Olympic Winter Games and the natural environment. I’m sure the new mascot will be very popular with Koreans and people around the world.”