Every four years, the Olympic Games bring the world together as we all crowd around our TV screens to watch stories of heartwarming sportsmanship, impossible come-from-behind victories, and athletic dominance. Even if you're not a sports fan, the games are an amazing event we all look forward to experiencing. How can you forget the Beijing Olympic's opening ceremony? So while we wait for the games to officially kick off in Pyeongchang, South Korea, let's take a look back at some lovable Olympic mascots.
If you're having a hard time remembering previous Olympic mascots, we don't blame you; there are a lot of them, and they're often overshadowed by the other festivities and competitions. But each mascot is a tribute to not only the country where the Olympics are being held, but also the culture and longstanding traditions of the people that live there. To make memorizing the list of Olympic mascots even harder, there is often a different mascot used at the Paralympic Games.
Olympic mascots first appeared in 1968 at the Summer Olympics in Grenoble, France, and have become a part of all subsequent games since. This year, Soohorang, a cuddly-looking white tiger, is the mascot of the 2018 Winter Olympics. Mascots are familiar guests at sporting events here in the United States — think Mr. Met and Benny the Bull — but in Europe they're not as common, so it must be nice for athletes to see not only their countrymen cheer them on but also a happy, energetic mascot, regardless of where they're from. It truly exemplifies the friendship and solidarity the games are supposed to inspire.
Keep scrolling to meet the past Olympic mascots.