Why Pyeongchang winners are receiving plush toys on platters



Why Pyeongchang winners are receiving plush toys on platters

Athletes are being gifted white tigers – a guardian animal in Korean mythology






Women deliver the white tiger of Korean mythology






Women wrapped in red coats deliver the Olympic mascots.
Photograph: Valery Sharifulin/TASS

With the first medals awarded at the Winter Olympics, the internet exploded with a question: why were athletes given teddy bears, with no sign of their hard-won gold, silver or bronze medallions?

Reid Olash
(@reid_olash)

If I were an Olympic athlete that just medaled, I would be lowkey mad that my podium picture was with a cheap teddy bear and not my medal🤷🏻‍♂️#OlympicGames2018

February 14, 2018

the fake slim shady
(@j111201)

is anyone going to talk about how the olympic athletes are getting teddy bears instead of medals

February 11, 2018

Immediately after winning their events, athletes stand on a podium as a procession of women wrapped in red coats bring out three trays of plush toys in the shape of the official Olympic mascot.

It turns out it is not a “teddy bear” at all, but a white tiger considered a guardian animal in Korean mythology.

The arrangement has led to awkward images of emotional athletes beaming mere minutes after becoming Olympic champions, standing on a podium with an unfamiliar plush toy.

A similar version of the toy sells for 25,000 Korean won (£16.70) at the official Olympic store and is made in China.

In previous years athletes have been given flowers, with medals given out immediately after events in the summer Games.

Athletes in Pyeongchang do eventually get medals, but at a joint ceremony later in the evening.

“The flower ceremony, or in this case the cuddly toy ceremony, is a longstanding tradition,” said Mark Adams, director of communications for the International Olympic Committee. “With the outdoor events it’s quite obvious,” he added, referring to the subzero temperatures at many mountain venues.

The practice of staging a small ceremony immediately after winter events started at the 2006 Winter Games in Turin, Italy.

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