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Mascots for Guangzhou Asian Games unveiled

Updated:2008-04-30 17:26:47 Source: GAGOC

On April 28th, the Guangzhou Baiyun International Convention and Exhibition Center was the scene of much activity and excitement as the Organizing Committee for the 16th Asian Games hosted a ceremony to commemorate the unveiling of the Games Mascot.

After a long and, at times, painstaking process, that lasted 400 days and involved numerous experts and designers, the Mascot for the 16th Asian Games was finally unveiled to a cheering audience. Huang Huahua, Executive President of the Guangzhou Asian Games Organizing Committee (GAGOC) and Governor of Guangdong; Yu Zaiqing, Vice President of GAGOC, Vice President of the Chinese Olympic Committee and Vice Director of the General Administration of Sport in China; Zhu Xiaodan, Vice President of GAGOC, Secretary of the CPC Guangzhou Municipal Committee and Chairman of the Standing Committee of the Guangzhou People’s Congress, as well as other officials, were all present to witness the unveiling.

Husain Al-Musallam, Director-General of the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA); Manuel Silvério, President of the Macau Olympic Committee, as well as other OCA representatives, also witnessed this historic moment alongside national sports officials, Guangdong provincial and Guangzhou municipal leaders, GAGOC officials, invited dignitaries and community representatives.

At eight o’clock, the gala launch of the Mascot kicked off. The opening performance, a dance entitled “Cloudy Mountain · Auspiciousness” captured the beauty and grandeur of Guangzhou’s landscape and waterscape. This was followed by a poem recital - “Asian Games · Auspiciousness” - which conveyed the people of Guangzhou’s yearning and best wishes for the Games. Another dance - “Touching the World” - showcased the dynamism and vibrancy of Guangzhou and reminded us of its role as an important city in Asia. When the applause after this performance had died down, Huang Huahua, Yu Zaiqing, Zhu Xiaodan and OCA Director-General Husain Al-Musallam, as well as other officials and dignitaries, came onto the stage to unveil the Mascot which, to everyone’s surprise, turned out to be not one, but five adorable goats. The gala’s grand finale was an unforgettable song and dance performance entitled “Heaven and Earth · Auspiciousness”.

The Mascots, collectively known as Le Yangyang, are five cute and playful friends - A Xiang, A He, A Ru”, A Yi and Le Yangyang. When their names are spoken together - Xiang He Ru Yi Le Yangyang – it literally means “auspiciousness and joy”, in Chinese.

The Mascots represent the hope that the Guangzhou Asian Games will bring auspiciousness, harmony, happiness, success and joy, to the people of Asia and that the Vision of the 16th Asian Games - a “Thrilling Games, Harmonious Asia” - will be realized, say the Organizers.

The designs of the Mascots are strongly inspired by the “Legend of the Five Goats”, a famous story about five benevolent celestial beings that descended from the heavens riding on goats with coats of different colors, each holding an ear of rice its mouth. This 1000-old legend has earned Guangzhou its best known nickname of “The City of Goats” or even “The City of Five Goats”.

Goats have deep roots in Chinese culture and have had a profound influence on the formation and development of many aspects of it, including writing, cuisine, ethics, etiquettes and aesthetics. In the language of ancient Chinese, the character “羊” yang (goat) is identical to the character “祥” xiang (luck). The Chinese character for beauty, “美” mei, is a combination of the characters “羊”, yang, and “大” da (big), in keeping with the traditional Chinese belief that a “big goat” is “beautiful”.

The goat is also considered an auspicious animal that brings luck, in other Asian cultures. Games’ Organizers said they hope that the design of the Mascots will appeal to, and resonate with, people of different cultures and religions throughout Asia.

The search for the design of the mascot kicked off in March 2007 and underwent four stages – public solicitation, evaluation, contracting and integration and creation of the final designs. The entire process, which took 13 months, involved numerous experts, designers and members of the public. The Mascots are truly a product of the collective wisdom and endeavor of its collaborators, they say.

Mascots serve as important symbols for any Games and the Mascots of the Asian Games are no different. Guangzhou’s Asian Games Mascots play an important role in expressing the character of the event and developing the Asian Games brand and are in intended to embody the history, style and culture of China and the City of Guangzhou.

The role of the Official Mascots of the Guangzhou Asian Games will be to: uphold the Olympic ideals of friendship, cooperation, equal participation and fair play; promote the Games’ Vision of a “Thrilling Games, Harmonious Asia” and give voice to the Chinese people and people of Guangzhou’s wish that the Games are a success. Finally they are a way for the City of Guangzhou to extend a warm welcome to the people of Asia, the Organizers add.

Trendy, dynamic and cute, Le Yangyang also represents the dynamism, vibrancy and passion of Guangzhou and sends a message from the City to all nations in the OCA Family, say the Organizers.

And the message is: Welcome to Guangzhou!

The unveiling of the Mascots is a milestone event in the city’s preparations for the Asian Games. It will have a profound influence on the promotion of the 16th Asian Games, while the Mascots themselves play an important role in the continuation of the Asian Games’ legacy.

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