PARIS: With just over 600 days to go until the opening of the next Olympic and Paralympic Games, the official mascots of Paris 2024 - the Phryges - have been revealed.
The mascots were unveiled at a press conference in Paris at 11.30 am CET Monday by Paris 2024 president Tony Estanguet, Beijing 2008 wheelchair tennis men's doubles champion Michael Jeremiasz and Gwladys Epangue, a Bronze medallist in taekwondo from Beijing 2008.
"We chose an ideal rather than an animal," Estanguet said when the mascots were revealed. "We chose the Phrygian cap because it's a very strong symbol for the French Republic. For French people, it's a very well-known object that is a symbol of freedom, an object that will represent mascots all across the world. The fact that the Paralympics mascot has a visible disability also sends a strong message: to promote inclusion."
Who are the Phryges?
Phryges (pronounced fri-jee-uhs) are small Phrygian caps, which represent a strong symbol of liberty, inclusivity and the ability of people to support great and meaningful causes. They are kitted out in a red, white and blue colourway, with the golden Paris 2024 logo emblazoned across their chests. They also have a mischievous and expressive eye made of a ‘cockade of France’, a knot of ribbons that is the French national ornament.
While Phryges are part of a large family, the main heroes of Paris 2024 will be Olympic Phryge and Paralympic Phryge. Over the next two years, both of them will play a key role in promoting the upcoming Games, before welcoming the athletes to Paris 2024.
"They are the two main characters in a large tribe, they're part of the family of Phryges," explained Paris 2024 Brand Director Julie Matikhine. "According to our narrative, they have existed for thousands of years and were present during several key events in French history.
"Now they have returned for this big event in France to lead a mission of revolution through sport. The aim is to show that sport can change everything in society. The objective is to show that sport and its values can do great things. It's about fraternity, solidarity and it helps society grow."
What is a Phryge?
The Olympic Phryge and Paralympic Phryge mascots are based on Phrygian caps, a type of hat that has become an enduring symbol of freedom throughout French history. They are a common reference for French people, including in the world of art (as a metaphor for freedom) and as a symbol of the Republic in French institutions. Phrygian caps can be seen sat atop the head of the iconic figure Marianne in every town hall and even feature on everyday objects in France such as coins and stamps. They are also an international symbol of liberty worn by freed slaves in Roman times and appearing on different emblems in North and South America. Also known as the liberty cap, the Phrygian cap has become one of the symbols of the French Republic.
Now the Phryges are back for the Olympic Games Paris 2024, ready to show the world they are courageous, determined and willing to do anything to succeed.
What’s the difference between the characters of Olympic Phryge and Paralympic Phryge?
While Olympic Phryge and Paralympic Phryge may look similar, their characters are very different to each other. It’s the balance between the two that really makes them a force to be reckoned with.
With a motto of “Alone we go faster, but together we go further”, Olympic Phryge and Paralympic Phryge complement each other and make each other better.
Olympic Phryge is a tactician with a calculating, mathematical brain. Its methodical mind and alluring charm are sure to inspire people to get involved with sport. Paralympic Phryge is spontaneous and full of energy and enthusiasm. It spreads the values of sport and will be there to celebrate the athletes in all the venues of Paris 2024.
Paralympic Phryge has a prosthesis and a racing blade, making it a role model for many and giving maximum visibility to people with disabilities.