Source: China Daily
The translated script of an interview on Olympic Mascots designer Han Meilin. (Beijing Times, November 3, 2005)
Reporter: How did you come out with the image of the friendlies
Han: The friendlies were based on the prototypes given to me by Mr. Wu Guanying from the Tsinghua University Fine Arts Institute. On February 2 on China's lunar calendar (March 11, 2005), after spending a fruitless night on them, I couldn't go on with my work. So I took a cold-water shower. While I was bathing, the idea flashed across my head - why not let these creatures wear headgears with animal characteristics.
Reporter: The athleticism is a core factor to Olympic mascots design. How did you handle this?
Han: After deciding on the primary look of the friendlies, we went through a great amount sports materials, text and graphic, to draft the firendlies practicing different sports. Panda practices weightlifting; Tibetan antelope running; fish swimming ¡etc. But when all the drafts were combined first, they looked a bit clumsy than we thought. It was from the images of Tibetan antelope that we finally drew inspirations to tackle this problem.