The Winter Olympics Tiger Mascot

AP Photo/Lee Jin-man

If you have been watching the Olympics, you might’ve noticed that when the medalists are on the podium, their waving little stuffed white tigers. Why?

Officials have been giving medal winners tiny plush tigers instead of traditional floral bouquets at the post-event “venue ceremonies. It turns out to be the mascot for the Winter Olympics.

Designed as an ode to the heritage of South Korea, mascot Soohorang is a white tiger donning black stripes with the Olympic rings emblazoned across its chest.

AP Photo/Luca Bruno

Fox News reported “Soohoo” translates in Korean to protection, and is meant to show the safety offered to the athletes, spectators and other participants. The animal’s duty to defend can be found throughout Korean history, such as how tiger statues stand guard at the royal tombs of the Joseon Dynasty.

The mascot also was chosen because Koreans have compared the shape of the Korean Peninsula to the shape of a tiger, according to the Pyeongchang organizing committee, who announced the mascot in 2016.

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