When it was announced back in October of 2009 that Rio would be hosting the 2016 Olym-pic games, the joy felt across Brazil created two remarkable creatures.
At least that’s the official back-story for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games’ mascots—Vinicius and Tom.
Creative origins aside, however, the pair are very much connected to Brazil’s ecology and culture.
Their names, which were decid-ed by popular vote, are in honor of Brazilian musicians Vinicius de Moraes and Tom Jobim who helped create Bossa Nova and together wrote “The Girl from Ipanema.”
Vinicius, the yellow-furred Rio 2016 Olympic Games mascot, is a combination of different animals common to Brazil including cats, monkeys and birds. Friendly and athletic with limbs that can stretch to impossible lengths, he lives in the Tijuca Forest and is best friends with the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games mascot, Tom.
A fusion of the plant life found in the Brazilian forests, Tom, like his friend Vinicius, is also athletic and upbeat. Smart and creative, Tom is a determined problem solv-er that can pull any object he might need out of the leaves on his head. He also loves all styles of Brazilian music especially the samba.
Beyond their names and designs, Vinicius and Tom also reflect Brazilian culture through their cartoon series. According to the 2016 Rio Olympics official website, “Vinicius e Tom - Diver-tidos por Natureza” (“Vinicius and Tom - Fun by Nature”) is current-ly airing on Cartoon Network in Brazil and features the mascots’ adventures throughout Brazil along with their friends the Irmas Cari-ocas (Carioca Sisters). So named because “carioca” means a native or resident of Rio de Janiero, the three sisters, Bela (beauty); Sol (sun); and Vida (life), specifically represent Rio and its people.
To learn more about Vinicius and Tom visit www.rio2016.com/mas-cots/#!home