The Olympics mascot is usually a creature of some sort. It will, however, be a hat for the Paris 2024 summer games.
La Phryge Olympique (red hats with eyes, legs) and la Phryge Paralympique (red hats and paralympiques) were announced Monday.
The Phrygian Cap, a soft and usually red hat, was worn by slaves in Phrygia (an ancient Greek kingdom located in Turkey). They are most commonly associated with the American Revolution, especially the French Revolutions, where their symbolism of freedom was worn.
Although you are not likely to see a liberty cap worn by a passer-by at the Place de la Bastille today, the hat is often seen in depictions of the revolution, like Liberty Leading the People by Eugène Delacroix.
Les Phryges (roughly pronounced “freezh”) arrived on the stage after the unveiling ceremony. They entertained journalists and dignitaries by playing a game of chess. The first of millions of stuffed Phryges that will be made between now, and the Games was also produced.
The Revolution ended with the Terror, a bloodbath of executions of women and men. However, the new mascots were lauded as being “new mascots.” “sporty, party-loving and so French.”
Beginning with Schuss, a man sporting a large redhead on skis at Grenoble 1968. Olympic mascots were important symbols of the Games. Many of them were either human-like animals or humans, such as a dachshund in Munich 1972, a beaver in Montreal 1976, and a tigress for Seoul 1988.
Tony Estanguet (president of the Olympic organizing board) reveled in pride at the fact that the Paris 2024 Mascot was not an animal in a news conference in French. “un objet”: an object.
La Phryge Paralympique is, unlike other Paralympic mascots, a direct allusion at the athletes it represents. It has one carbon-fiber leg.
The pandemic-affected Tokyo 2020 saw the mascots Miraitowa (or Someity), who were vaguely Pokemon-like, end up with a low profile. This was partly due to the lack of fans. Paris doesn’t expect this.
The worldwide reaction to the new mascots remains to be seen, but organizers will hope they don’t get the near-universal criticism faced by the mascot of Atlanta 1996, Izzy. It was created by Matt Groening. “The Simpsons,” Someone who knows something about cartoon characters. “a bad marriage of the Pillsbury doughboy and the ugliest California Raisin.”