The making of the five friendlies (II) 12-07-2005 15:11

If you were watching last week, you'll remember our story on the Olympic mascots called "The Making of the Five Friendlies". Now it's time for the second and final part of that special report.

A meeting was held on April, 25th, 2005, where BOCOG members and representatives attended to decide the Olympic mascots.

Opinions presented were considered as an important part of the selection process, especially opinions of the young ones.

Questionnaires were given to the Beijing Yucai Elementary School and neither the teachers nor the schoolmaster knew the real reason of the survey.

And it was not just the primary schools. Kindergartens were also asked to choose the one they like best. Officials say the Panda was obviously the famous amongst the children.

Yue Zuguang, Olympic Collector, said, "Some don't want the dragon as symbol of the Games."

Wang Tao, China Federation of Literary & Art Circles, said, "Overseas people don't understand the real meaning of the dragon. We have fish in the water, animals in the forests. So we thought of a rare bird instead of the dragon."

Chen Hanmin, Professor, School of Fine Arts, Tsinghua University, said, "I think we should design the mascot in a way so that people can relate to it, easier to understand, easier to remember."

Lu Shengrong, Former IOC Member, said, "The Olympic Games is the world's biggest sporting event. So the mascots should have something that everyone can relate to."

Teng Haibin, Vaulting Horse Champion, Athens Olympics, said, "I hope the mascot represents peace and friendly games."

The final decision was given on April, 29, 2005, by BOCOG officials.

Deng Pufang, Executive President, BOCOG, said, "We have the fish doll, but we cant use the dragon doll, the bird doll represents the sky."

Liu Peng, President, Chinese Olympic Committee, said, "We can use the flame and dragon together. But instead design an image of a bird."

Chen Zhili, First Vice-President, BOCOG, said, "What's your impression when you first saw these five images? I think they are a little stiff."

Liu Qi, President, BOCOG, said, "They all have round eyes, maybe it's according to Han Meilin's style. But I think they should have characters."

In the following month, the group created the fire-dragon. The purpose is to use red -crowned crane and pied magpie instead of dragon, but the outcome was different.

Chen Nan, Member of 2008 Olympic Mascot Group, said, "I think the swallow of Beijing is much better. We have a popular children song called 'small swallow'. Every spring and summer, the children are out there flying kites. So I think it is appropriate to use that, it is a great feature of Beijing."

The whole then started to put together, the new Beijing swallow.

Han said, "This is the first one I did, it looks very nice. I made about five lovely dolls already."

Jiang Xxiaoyu, Executive Vice-President of BOCOG, said, "This is the fire-dragon doll, he is a boy. He combines both the image of flame and dragon."

Jiang said, "Dragon represents evil in some countries, so it is not good for us to use it a symbol of the Olympics."

The group began to work on designing the new mascots in June. Professor Wu Guanying of Tsinghua University made thousands of scripts.

Wu Guanying, Member of Olympic Mascot Embellishment Group, said, "The mascots should not only include an image of sport, but should also have a marketing value that can be easily attached to different Olympic licensed products, such as souvenir badge, stamps or stationery. So they should be attractive."

The mascots nicknamed "Friendlies", carry a message of friendship which means Bei Jing Huan Ying Ni, or "Welcome to Beijing".

Han said, "We tried our best to include many significants of China as a country. And it's a pity that we didn't use Chinese calligraphy in the design."

Sun Lijun, Animation Department, Beijing Film Academy, said, "The final five figures were chosen by the judging panel."

Jiang said, "The reason that we chose these five mascots is because our Chinese culture is so rich and we have a lot to tell the world."

Chen Hanmin, Professor, School of Fine Arts, Tsinghua University, said, "The five mascots all represents something, above all they represent fortune.鈥

Han said, "I cherish the five mascots just like I cherish my own children, and I hope our people, and the world will appreciate the mascots."

Editor:Chen Zhuo

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