Olympics: Soohorang and Bandabi unveiled as Pyeongchang 2018 mascots

The 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics Mascots Soohorang (centre-left) and Bandabi (centre-right) with former South Korean figure skater Kim Yu Na (centre) and children in Pyeongchang on July 18, 2016.
The 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics Mascots Soohorang (centre-left) and Bandabi (centre-right) with former South Korean figure skater Kim Yu Na (centre) and children in Pyeongchang on July 18, 2016.PHOTO: EPA
Mascots for South Korea's 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, a white tiger named Soohorang (left) and an Asiatic black bear named Bandabi at Hoenggye elementary school in Pyeongchang on July 18, 2016.
Mascots for South Korea's 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, a white tiger named Soohorang (left) and an Asiatic black bear named Bandabi at Hoenggye elementary school in Pyeongchang on July 18, 2016.PHOTO: AFP

(REUTERS) - A white tiger named Soohorang and an Asian black bear called Bandabi were unveiled on Monday as the two mascots for the 2018 Winter Olympics and Paralympics in Pyeongchang.

"Soohorang and Bandabi will be your good friends and promote the Pyeongchang Olympic Games to the whole world," Lee Hee Beom, president of the Games organising committee, told students during a ceremony at Hoeng Gye elementary school in Pyeongchang.

Soohorang's name is derived from the Korean words for "protection" (Sooho) and "tiger" (ho-rang-i).

The white tiger is considered a sacred guardian animal in South Korea, with some locals considering the Korean peninsula to be tiger-shaped.

The 1988 Seoul Olympics also featured a tiger mascot.

Paralympic Games mascot Bandabi represents courage and strong will power, organisers said.

The Pyeongchang 2018 Olympic Winter Games will be held from Feb 9-25 and the Paralympics follow from March 9-18.