Following 'successful' Olympic Winter Games debut, Bridgestone turns attention to Tokyo 2020

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The mascot, which has yet to be named, was selected by elementary school kids from a shortlist of three competitors instantly recognizable as "made in Japan".

"(When designing) these characters, I referred to the flag handover performance at the closing ceremony of the recently held summer Olympic Games in Rio", Taniguchi told a jam-packed news conference following the announcement. The Paralympic character has a kind heart, loves nature and can move objects by looking at them.

The losing pairs were a lucky cat and a fox of Design B and Design C's glum fox and raccoon. Tom meanwhile, was the mascot for the Paralympics and represented the the country's flora.

A total of 6.5 million Japanese children - from schools in the country and overseas - cast their vote between December 11 and February 22 and then the unveiling happened.

"It's quite innovative, I like the blue-check pattern while the pink one uses cherry blossoms and it shows traditional Japan", said Miyu Kawa, a 12-year-old student at Hoyonomori Gakuen School, where the selection was announced. Tokyo on February 28 unveiled its long-awaited mascot for the 2020 Olympic Games: a futuristic blue-checked, doe-eyed character with pointy ears and "special powers" that was picked by schoolchildren across mascot-mad Japan.

In March, Team Bridgestone athlete ambassadors Amy Purdy (para snowboarding, USA) and Evan Strong (para snowboarding, USA) will compete in the Paralympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018.

The Tokyo 2020 organisers threw open the competition of choosing mascots for the quadrennial games to individuals and groups, and 2,042 designs were received.

While mascots help in promotion and popularizing events, Japan takes the craze to another level.

Yoshiko Ikoma, deputy chief of the mascot panel and designer, said narrowing down the designs for students to vote on was a heated process.

In addition, the company has already started building an even wider global roster of athlete ambassadors ahead of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, which will take place in the home city of Bridgestone's global headquarters.