May 22, 2017 / 11:36 AM / a year ago

On your marks: competition for Tokyo Olympics mascot starts in August

TOKYO (Reuters) - Tokyo Olympic organizers announced on Monday a competition to design the mascots for the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, and said elementary school students would vote for the winners.

Toshiro Muto (R), CEO of Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee of Olympic and Paralympic games, and Akira Shimazu, CEO of the Rugby World Cup 2019 Organizing Committee, attend their signing ceremony on their collaboration agreement in Tokyo, Japan April 26, 2017. REUTERS/Issei Kato

“We are praying for the birth of a mascot that will be loved and praised by the world,” Ryohei Miyata, a member of the organizing committee, said at a news conference.

Japanese residents can submit their designs on the Tokyo 2020 official website during a two-week period starting on August 1.

A selection panel will draw up a shortlist for the school children to vote on. The prizes include tickets to some Olympic events and up to 1 million yen ($8,975) in cash.

The mascot has been a Games tradition dating back to the 1968 Winter Games in Grenoble, France.

More recently, Vinicius, an amalgamation of Brazilian fauna, was the mascot for the 2016 Olympics in Rio. Quatchi the sasquatch represented the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games, and Olly the kookaburra was created for the 2000 Sydney Summer Olympics.

($1 = 111.4200 yen)

Reporting by Teppei Kasai, Editing by Karishma Singh

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