France has a rich culture of food, art and fashion, so organizers planning the 2024 Paris Olympics seem to have found the perfect way to represent it all with a very unique mascot: a hat. However, it isn't just any old smiling hat, it's a bit of a revolutionary idea: a Phrygian cap.
The Olympic Phryge and the Paralympic Phryge are taking the lead of a tribe which always has its trainers on 👟— Paris 2024 (@Paris2024) November 14, 2022
What could be better than little Phrygian caps to lead the revolution through sport and accompany us to the #Paris2024 Games! pic.twitter.com/hUjFI09zZM
The official description says the Phryges are based on an item of clothing that symbolizes freedom and has been part of the French history for centuries. Depictions of the Phrygian cap can be found at town halls across the France, on stamps, and are also part of the national school curriculum.
"The Phryges follow a long lineage: the Phrygian cap was part of all the major events in French history," reads the explanation. "The French National Archives show records of Phrygian caps worn during the construction of Paris' Notre-Dame cathedral in 1163, during the revolution of 1789, during work to build the Eiffel Tower, and during the Games in 1924."
Mascots are typically some type of animal, but Paris 2024's brand director Julie Matikhine said the French wanted to be different and use the symbol that represented them the most.
French spirit + revolution through sport = The Phryges!— Paris 2024 (@Paris2024) November 15, 2022
Julie Matikhine, Paris 2024's brand director, explains why 🧠
⁰Esprit Français + révolution par le sport = Les Phryges !
Julie Matikhine, directrice de la marque de #Paris2024, nous explique pourquoi 💡 pic.twitter.com/ijvri5k7uM
The Phryges have fun traits such as being great at flipping pancakes and having a great sense of fashion -- it is Paris, after all. Their main mission is to inspire France to "get moving" and spread the important life lessons that sports can teach everyone.
There is a full tribe of them, and all love their red sneakers. There are two main characters to represent the Olympics and the Paralympics. The Olympics one has a "mathematical mind" and is very strategic with her approach to anything. The Paralympics one is a bit more more of an extrovert. She has a prosthetic leg, but it doesn't hold her back.
"With this, she can run as fast as an antelope," reads the description. "Her thing is to blaze a trail, some might say she is fearless, which might be true, but one thing is certain, she hates to be bored and loves trying out new things.... With her mindset as the perfect supporter, she loves promoting the values of sport, celebrating athletes in all arenas and all of the Games venues, and partying to celebrate victories or get over defeats."
The fact that both characters look practically the same is different from what has been done in the past, because typically the mascots for Olympics and Paralympics have been different designs or event different species.
The Paris 2024 Summer Olympics are set to start on July 26, 2024, while the Paralympics begin August 28, 2024.