The International Olympic Committee (IOC) executive board approved the new mascot for the Olympic Winter Games Pyeongchang 2018 — a white tiger named "Soohorang".
of "Jeong-seon A-ri-rang", a cherished traditional folk song of Gangwon Province, where the Games will be held.
IOC Member Gunilla Lindberg, the Chair of the IOC Coordination Commission for the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018, praised the mascot choice. She said, "It’s a beautiful animal, strongly associated with Korean culture. It also symbolises the close link between the Olympic Winter Games and the natural environment. I’m sure the new mascot will be very popular with Koreans and people around the world".
The mascot selection had been a closely held secret until its approval by the IOC Executive Board. PyeongChang 2018 will formally introduce the mascot at events in Seoul and PyeongChang in July, before its international debut at the 2018 PyeongChang House at the Olympic Games Rio 2016 in August.
The 1988 Seoul Games also featured a tiger mascot – “Hodori”, an orange Amur tiger who prevailed over a rabbit, a squirrel and a pair of mandarin ducks in a public competition.
Mascots have been a regular feature of the Olympic Games since the first official Olympic mascot — a dachshund — was created for the 1972 Munich Games. They serve as popular and playful ambassadors for the host nation and contribute to the festive Games atmosphere.
Bandabi, the Asiatic black bear or "ban-dal-ga-seum-gom" (the bear with a half-moon mark on the chest) symbolizes strong willpower and courage in the Korean folklore. This bear now has been selected as a friendly mascot for the Paralympic Games in 2018. "Banda" is derived from "ban-dal", the Korean word for the half-moon. "Bi" stands for celebration of the Games.
The PyeongChang 2018 Organising Committee’s (POCOG’s) ‘New Horizons’ vision aims to expand winter sports in Asia and transform the local Gangwon province into a new winter sports and tourism destination.
From a logistical point of view, the concept for the 2018 Winter Games is one of the most compact ever seen.The vision for PyeongChang is based on a compact geographical area, split between a coastal and a mountain cluster.
The coastal cluster, centred around the town of Gangneung on the Republic of Korea’s eastern seaboard, will provide the setting for the events on ice (speed skating, figure skating, short track, ice hockey and curling), with the main Olympic Village complex and mountain cluster (comprising the skiing and snowboarding courses and the bobsleigh,luge and skeleton track) located only a 30 minute car journey away.