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Harbin unveils Asian Winter Games mascots

By Zhou Huiying and Tian Xuefei in Harbin | China Daily | Updated: 2024-01-12 09:39
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The mascots of the 9th Asian Winter Games in 2025, Binbin and Nini, a pair of cute Siberian tigers, are unveiled on Thursday during a ceremony in Harbin, Heilongjiang province. [Photo/Xinhua]

The Organizing Committee for the 9th Asian Winter Games unveiled the official emblem, mascots and slogan on Thursday for the regional games scheduled for February 2025 in Harbin, Heilongjiang province.

The mascots of the 9th Asian Winter Games — Siberian tigers "Binbin" and "Nini" — made their public debut amid cheers at an unveiling ceremony in Harbin.

They were created by a team from the Academy of Fine Arts at Tsinghua University, and symbolize the in-depth exploration and shaping of the unique natural and cultural heritage of the Northeast — the Siberian tiger culture.

"The archetypes of Binbin and Nini are two cute little Siberian tigers born in September 2023 at the Siberian Tiger Park in Harbin," Zhang Qixiang, mayor of Harbin and vice-chairman and secretary-general of the Organizing Committee for the 9th Asian Winter Games, said at the ceremony.

"Their names mean 'Welcome to Harbin', and show Harbin's eager anticipation and sincere welcome to friends from Asian countries."

Binbin represents the ice events as he shows off his winter sportswear and shares his joy of ice dancing, while Nini represents the snow events, wearing traditional Chinese clothes.

In traditional Chinese culture, the tiger is a symbol of good luck and is endowed with many positive characteristics, among which integrity, strength and courage are highly consistent with the Olympic spirit.

Binbin and Nini integrate the cute image of the tiger with the unique characteristics of Harbin's winter ice and snow and folk cultures.

The emblem of the 9th Asian Winter Games in 2025 — "Breakthrough" — was also created by the team from the Academy of Fine Arts at Tsinghua University, and expresses the beautiful pursuit of accelerating the construction of China's sports power in the new era, making unremitting efforts to challenge the goal of higher, faster and stronger, and making new contributions to Asian ice and snow sports.

The design integrates elements such as the sprinting posture of speed skaters, the lilac flower of Harbin city and the logo of the Olympic Council of Asia, combining Chinese culture with Olympic elements.

The short track speed skater's agility and elegance embody the sportsmanship of the athletes across Asia and is the proud manifestation of the host city Harbin as a "City of Olympic Champions".

The blooming lilac symbolizes Harbin's city culture of warmheartedness while the swirling ribbon adds a joyous visual impression.

The OCA symbol in the upper left represents the long-standing aspiration of Asian countries to pursue progress and peace.

With gradients of blue and purple, the emblem simulates the light and shadow refracted when sunlight hits ice.

The overall line structure of the emblem can be seen as a variant of the Chinese character jiu, which means nine, signifying the 9th Asian Winter Games.

The external contour lines form a cursive Chinese character he, which means harmony, conveying the Chinese people's deep longing for solidarity, common progress and a happy convergence with Asian friends.

"The emblem and mascots created by our team express the full connotation and innovative image design, reflecting the natural characteristics and the humanistic spirit of Harbin city, and the core concept of the Asian Winter Games, as well as the cultural heritage and values of the host country and host city," said the chief designer Chen Lei, who is also head of the department of visual communication design at the Academy of Fine Arts at Tsinghua University.

The slogan of the 9th Asian Winter Games — "Dream of Winter, Love among Asia" — highlights the concept of connecting Asian countries with ice and snow, creating new growth poles of ice and snow economy, and promoting cultural exchanges between Asian countries, according to the committee.

It also highlights the practice of the vision of "a community with a shared future for mankind", and the Asian Winter Games should be used as a link to promote cooperation and common development among Asian countries.

The words "Dream of Winter" mean that the stage has been set for Asian athletes to demonstrate the unique charm of winter sports and realize their dreams, reflecting an irresistible urge to push physical limits and the unremitting pursuit of the Olympic spirit and motivating more people to engage in winter sports.

The words "Love among Asia" voice the shared hope of the people of Asia in promoting solidarity and friendship with sincerity and warmth, and enhancing mutual learning and progress among the various cultures through exchange and respect.

"From Sept 19 to Oct 18, 2023, the organizing committee officially opened up global solicitation for the design of the Games' emblem, mascot and slogan," said Zhang. "We received a total of 4,608 valid works from 31 provincial-level administrative regions and overseas, including 3,518 slogan design works, 760 emblem design works and 330 mascot design works."

"The slogan, emblem and mascots of the 9th Asian Winter Games present the aspirations of the people of Harbin and the historical envoys of the Party and the country," he said.

"We believe that these cultural symbols will surely become the historical mark of the 9th Asian Winter Games in 2025, the dazzling stars in the historical process of the world Olympic movement, and the new coordinate system for the high-quality development of Heilongjiang and Harbin," he added.

Harbin successfully won the bid to host the 9th Asian Winter Games on July 8, 2023, marking the third time that the regional games will take place in China.

Harbin hosted it in 1996 and Changchun, capital of Jilin province, was the venue for the Games in 2007. The multisport event is usually held every four years.

On Wednesday, the inaugural meeting of the Organizing Committee for the 9th Asian Winter Games, scheduled for 2025, took place in Harbin.

During the meeting, a comprehensive report on the event's preparations was presented, and the committee deliberated and approved the organizational structure and functional allocation plan for the 9th Asian Winter Games Organizing Committee (Executive Committee), as well as the rules that the committee needs to abide by.

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