Nanjing 2014, the organising committee for the Youth Olympics in the Chinese city that year, has today unveiled its official games mascot, NanjingLele.
The mascot, unveiled at ceremony in Nanjing that attracted more than 4,000 people, is inspired by a unique natural feature of the host city known as the 'Rain-Flower Pebble', or 'Riverstone'. Its design takes the typical shape and appearance of this stone.
The word 'Lele' represents the sound of stones colliding together and is pronounced like the Chinese word meaning happiness or joy.
NanjingLele was chosen following a nationwide mascot design competition launched by Nanjing 2014 earlier this year. Over 1.2 million students from more than 900 colleges across China participated in the competition.
The winning designer was 25-year-old college student Cui Xinye.
In a congratulatory letter read out during the ceremony, Jacques Rogge, president of the International Olympic Committee, said: "The design of NanjingLele is truly inspiring and will certainly capture the attention of the world’s youth and older generations alike. Not only does it incorporate aspects of the host city’s majestic local stone, the Riverstone, but it is bright and vibrant and sets the tone for a fun, colourful and energetic YOG."
Li Xueyong, governor of Jiangsu Province, where Nanjing is based, and president of the organising committee, said: "Mascot NanjingLele represents the profound cultural deposit of Nanjing, the collective wisdom of its people and the good wish of a harmonious relationship between human beings and the nature."
Nanjing is the second host of the summer Youth Olympics, following Singapore in 2010. Innsbruck in Austria staged the inaugural winter Youth Olympics in January.