The Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games mascots have been named. The Olympic mascot will be called Vinicius and the Paralympic mascot will be called Tom. The names were chosen by a public vote with 323, 327 votes cast.
The names, which received 44 per cent of valid votes, pay tribute to the great Brazilian musicians and composers Vinicius de Moraes and Tom Jobim. The duo were a key part of the group that created Bossa Nova. Together, Vinicius and Tom wrote The Girl from Ipanema, one of the most-played songs of all time, and many other bossa nova classics..
Vinicius and Tom were chosen ahead of the other two shortlisted pairs of names: Oba and Eba, and Tiba Tuque and Esquindim.
Rio 2016 President Carlos Nuzman said the public had chosen names that reflect the character of the Rio 2016 Games. “The names of Vinicius and Tom are recognised worldwide as a synonym for excellence, which is in line with what we want to achieve with the Rio 2016 Games,” he said. “In addition to representing the Brazilian fauna and flora, our mascots also connect to the best of our music. We are certain that they will be an inspiration to the youth.”
The origin of the Rio 2016 mascots blends fiction and reality. According to the “legend”, on 2 October 2009, when Rio de Janeiro was elected to host the Games, the great explosion of joy amongst Brazilians was felt by nature and from this energy the mascots were born.
Vinicius, the Rio 2016 Olympic Games mascot, represents all of the different animals in Brazil. He combines the agility of cats, the sway of monkeys and the grace of birds. He can stretch his arms and legs as much as he wants and has a very acute sense of smell and amazing powers of hearing.
Tom, the Paralympic mascot, is a fusion of plants found in Brazilian forests. He is energised by photosynthesis and can pull any object from his head of leaves. He is always growing and overcoming obstacles, and believes there is no challenge that cannot be solved.