Whizbee the Bee and Hero the Hedgehog have been revealed as the official mascots for the World Para Athletics Championships and IAAF World Championships respectively following a nationwide search in partnership with iconic BBC children’s television show Blue Peter.
Whizbee and Hero were created by talented Elinor, aged nine from the West Midlands and stood out from an overwhelming response of more than 4,000 entries to the official mascot competition run by organisers and Blue Peter in February.
Elinor impressed a stellar judging panel including representatives from the Organising Committee, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), the IAAF and Blue Peter as well as Olympic champion Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill and double Paralympic gold medallist Richard Whitehead MBE, who both helped launch the search.
From the entries received, 29 of the top 30 were submitted by children outside of London with the key to Elinor’s winning entry being her important message about the need to protect bees and hedgehogs with numbers in decline across the UK.
Elinor is now set to receive four tickets to a session at both Championships, a VIP tour of the London Stadium, a framed photo of the finished mascots and a Blue Peter orange competition badge having already enjoyed a VIP visit to see her designs come to life.
In line with Elinor’s wishes for her Whizbee, organisers conducted a successful search for an actor with a below knee leg prosthetic to perform as the mascot in the build-up and throughout the World Para Athletics Championships – something that has never been done before.
Whizbee the Bee is the official mascot of the World Para Athletics Championships, which takes place at the London Stadium from 14-23 July, and Hero the Hedgehog is the official mascot of the IAAF World Championships, which takes place at the same venue from 4-13 August.
Elinor said: “It is so exciting that my designs were chosen as the winner. I was so happy when I was told. When I saw the competition, I was really inspired but I didn’t think I would win. I chose Whizbee and Hero because they are endangered species and are survivors. Bees are really important because they make the world go around and hedgehogs are determined and brave. Whizbee has a blade like the Paralympians which is really important. It’s really cool getting them made into proper mascots. I can’t wait to see them in the summer.”
The biggest event to be staged at the London Stadium since the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games – it is the first time both Championships have been held in the same city with over 3,000 athletes from over 200 nations competing over 20 days of action. Tickets are now on sale at https://tickets.london2017athletics.com/.