design

Panda-monium: From medal podiums to spectator stands, Winter Olympics mascot Bing Dwen Dwen is everywhere

Published 8th February 2022
BEIJING, CHINA - FEBRUARY 05: A worker dressed as Bing Dwen Dwen, the mascot of the 2022 Winter Olympics, performs in the stands during the Mixed Team Relay Final A on day one of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games at Capital Indoor Stadium on February 5, 2022 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Liu Lu/VCG via Getty Images)
Credit: Liu Lu/VCG/Getty Images
Panda-monium: From medal podiums to spectator stands, Winter Olympics mascot Bing Dwen Dwen is everywhere
Written by Coy Wire, Nectar Gan, Jessie Yeung, CNN
Beijing 2022's official mascot has emerged as a fan favorite at the Winter Games.
Eliciting some of the biggest cheers from crowds -- sometimes louder than those heard for the athletes -- Bing Dwen Dwen has appeared all over the Olympic venues. Dressed in a full-body icy "shell," the panda mascot has been seen dancing in the stands, cheering on athletes and pictured on signs and flags waved by spectators.
Miniature, stuffed Bing Dwen Dwens are even awarded to athletes when they win a medal, with skiing sensation and new Olympic gold medaliist Eileen Gu among those seen holding one up on the podium.
Eileen Gu of Team China celebrates after winning gold in the women's big air freestyle skiing event on on February 8, 2022 in Beijing, China.
Eileen Gu of Team China celebrates after winning gold in the women's big air freestyle skiing event on on February 8, 2022 in Beijing, China. Credit: Lintao Zhang/Getty Images
According to the official Olympics website, "Bing" has several meanings in Mandarin, though the most common is ice. The word also symbolizes purity and strength. "Dwen Dwen" means robust and lively, and is also a Chinese moniker for children.
When the Winter Paralympics kick off next month, Bing Dwen Dwen will be joined by Shuey Rhon Rhon, a Chinese lantern child. According to the Paralympic website, Shuey is the same pronunciation as the Chinese character for "snow," while the first Rhon means "to include, to tolerate," and the second means "to melt, fuse and warm."
Dancers perform in the pre-show for the Beijing Winter Olympics opening ceremony at the National Stadium on February 4, 2022.
Dancers perform in the pre-show for the Beijing Winter Olympics opening ceremony at the National Stadium on February 4, 2022. Credit: Kyodo News/Getty Images
The designs -- created by Cao Xue, a professor at Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts -- were chosen from over 5,800 submissions from China and 35 countries around the world as part of an international competition arranged by the Beijing 2022 Organizing Committee, according to the official Olympic website.
The two mascots were revealed in Beijing in 2019 at a ceremony attended by Chinese Vice Premier Han Zheng and International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach.
According to Liu Pingyun, who helped design Bing Dwen Dwen, the rings of color on its face were inspired by the National Speed Skating Oval in Beijing, and represent "futuristic concepts," said a statement posted online by Guangdong Province's Department of Education at the time.
A man holds the Olympic mascot Bing Dwen Dwen, which he purchased from a store selling Winter Olympics 2022 memorabilia on February 7, 2022.
A man holds the Olympic mascot Bing Dwen Dwen, which he purchased from a store selling Winter Olympics 2022 memorabilia on February 7, 2022. Credit: Andy Wong/AP
State news agency Xinhua has meanwhile explained that the character's stylized sports helmet is meant to "make the animal appear more athletic." And the IOC has said that the mascot "resembles an astronaut, embracing new technologies for a future with infinite possibilities," with the bands of color around its face meant to represent "connectivity and advanced technologies."
State broadcaster China Global Television Network (CGTN) reported on Sunday that Bing Dwen Dwen merchandise has been "selling like hotcakes." There are also reports that souvenir shops are sold out, with the Beijing organizing committee requesting the production of more Bing Dwen Dwen swag to satisfy fans.
Top caption: Bing Dwen Dwen dancing in the stands on February 5, 2022 in Beijing, China.