Made-in-China 'Phryges' toys are surprise mascots for Paris Olympics 2024

© AFP/Franck Fife

The 2024 Paris Olympic Games Committee on Monday unveiled the mascot for the international sporting event. Organisers hope to sell two million of these made-in-China toys in the shape of the 'Phrygian' cap, a symbol of the French republic and revolutionary spirit.

Tony Estanguet, president of the Paris 2024 organising committee, hailed it as a "special day" and announced that the summer Games' mascot would "break with tradition" and not be in the shape of an animal.

The 44-year-old triple Olympic canoeing champion said the red Phrygian cap is "known throughout the world" and is present "in art, in town halls and on stamps" across France.

"From ancient times to our contemporary history, peoples have proudly worn this cap to express their freedom: freed slaves in ancient Rome, countries of Latin America who recover its meaning as in Nicaragua and Colombia or even on the flag of New York State to signify freedom, independence, and justice," the committee said.

'French spirit'

In choosing the cap worn by Marianne, the personification of the French Revolution, the organising committee has chosen to represent the Republican and revolution-era history.

It is another reference to French history alongside the marathon route which mirrors the one French women took to Versailles from Paris on 5 October, 1789, to protest over principally the rising price of bread.

"We want the mascots to incarnate the French spirit," the committee said.

The Paralympic mascot is different in that one of the legs is a runner's blade.

The characters will also be available in the form of T-shirts, hoodies, key rings and pins.

Read more on RFI English

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