(ATR) Hero the Hedgehog and Whizbee the Bee are the official mascots for London’s summer of athletics.
Whizbee the Bee and Hero the Hedgehog (Twitter/@London2017)
They were revealed on Thursday following a search throughout Great Britain in conjunction with the BBC children's television show Blue Peter.
Whizbee the Bee is the mascot for the World Para Athletics Championships, which take place at the London Stadium from July 14-23.
Hero the Hedgehog is the mascot for the IAAF World Championships, which will be held at the same venue from August 4-13.
Both were created by Elinor, a nine-year-old from the West Midlands of England, who beat out more than 4000 other entries submitted for the competition in February.
“It is so exciting that my designs were chosen as the winner,” said Elinor in a statement. “I was so happy when I was told. I chose Whizbee and Hero because they are endangered species and are survivors. Bees are really important because they make the world go around and hedgehogs are determined and brave. It’s really cool getting them made into proper mascots.”
Elinor impressed a judging panel that included representatives from the organizing committee, the IAAF, the IPC and Blue Peter as well as Olympic champion Jessica Ennis-Hill.
“I really enjoyed being part of the judging panel for the London 2017 mascot design competition,” said Ennis-Hill. “Having stepped away from the track, it was nice to be asked to be involved in this year’s World Championships in a different way.
“I think Elinor’s reason for choosing a bee and hedgehog, and the fact that they are creatures in our everyday lives in Britain, made the designs stand out. Hopefully the mascots will bring a lot of fun and energy to the championships.”
Elinor designed Whizbee to use a prosthetic blade and in line with her wishes, organizers found an actor with a below knee leg prosthetic to perform as Whizbee in the build-up and throughout the World Para Athletics Championships.
Elinor has already enjoyed a VIP visit to see Hero and Whizbee come to life. She will also receive four tickets to a session at both the IAAF World Championships and the World Para Athletic Championships. In addition, she gets a VIP tour of the London Stadium, a framed photo of both finished mascots and a Blue Peter orange competition badge from both events.
Written by Gerard Farek
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