The 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang South Korea have started with much fanfare and excitement in arctic temperatures.
Athletes are bracing the cold. Except for one fellow.
The dazzling displays from the skaters, the downhill skiers, the luge and much more will have billions of people glued to their televisions cheering on their country and favorites athletes.
So what is the connection with cats and the 2018 Olympic Games?
Well, it is big cats.
Meet Soorhorang, the official mascot for the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Games.
Soorhorang is a White Tiger that was chosen by the South Korean Olympic Committee drawing on the folk tales and traditions of Korea and honoring the place that the White Tiger has in Korean culture. A symbol of strength, protection and trust the tiger is thought to be a guardian for the people and it’s white color is symbolic of the winter with snow and ice.
It’s name also has meaning for the games. In Korean, “Sooho” means protection (to ensure the safety of the athletes, participants and visitors) and “rang,” is the Korean word for tiger. Holding a special place in Korean history tigers are to be found guarding royal tombs and are believed to ward off evil spirits. They have evolved to be symbol of strength for the people, the country and in modern times, the economy. The connection with the tiger is further enhanced as the Korean peninsula is shaped like a tiger.
So, while watching the Olympics keep a look out for Soorhorang, a big cat with a long history and a lot of respect.