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Beijing unveils mascots for Olympics
(AP)
Updated: 2005-11-11 21:12

After years of fierce lobbying and months of secrecy, Beijing unveiled five mascots for the 2008 Olympics on Friday, opening a marketing blitz that is expected to reap record profits.


Beijing unveiled five mascots for the 2008 Olympics on Friday-five cartoon renditions of a panda, fish, Tibetan antelope, swallow and the Olympic flame. [en.beijing2008.com]

In an elaborate, nationally televised gala at a Beijing sports arena to mark the 1,000-day countdown until the Games, senior Chinese leaders introduced the mascots cartoon renditions of a panda, fish, Tibetan antelope, swallow and the Olympic flame, each one the color of one of the Olympic rings.

"The five friendlies are an incredible little family carefully chosen by Beijing 2008 to represent all of China to carry a message of friendship to the children of the world," International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge said in a statement that was read at the ceremony.

"China is so lucky to have so many beautiful animals to represent the Olympic spirit," Rogge said.

The animals were introduced as Bei Bei, Jing Jing, Huan Huan, Ying Ying and Ni Ni which, put together, translates to "Beijing welcomes you!"

It is the most number of mascots any Olympic Games has had in more than 30 years. The Salt Lake City and Sydney Games both had three.
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