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What's The Paris Games’ Mascot All About?

Updated: Jul 11

The Phrygian cap emerged as a potent symbol of freedom in France in the 18th-century and has been adopted for the Olympic Games this summer.


The Olympic Phryge mascot
2024 Olympic Games mascot | Credit: @Paris2024 / X

When France decided on a mascot for the Paris 2024 Summer Olympic Games, it didn’t go with a cartoonish animal, as many other host nations have in years past. Instead, perhaps bizarrely, the country chose to honour a hat.


The Olympic Phryge (pronounced “fri-jee-uh”), as the mascot is called, will be familiar to any French schoolchild. It’s based on a floppy red cap that became, and remains to this day, an indelible emblem of the late-18th-century French Revolution.


“We chose an ideal rather than an animal,” said Paris 2024 President Tony Estanguet at a press conference. “For French people, it’s a very well-known object that is a symbol of freedom.”


Almost lost in the mists of time is that the phryge was once a symbol of the American Revolution, too. If not for the hat’s importance to the colonial Patriots, it’s possible their French counterparts would never have adopted the phryge as their own.


The name phryge comes from Phrygia, an ancient region in what is now Turkey, where similar hats were worn sometime before the seventh century B.C.E. The Phrygian cap was characterized by a distinctive cone on top that could flop over toward the front or back.

 

You may also be interested in taking a look at what the Paris Olympics Medals will look like (they're embedded with actual pieces of the Eiffel Tower) or How Old Must You Be To Compete in various different sports.

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