Beijing has unveiled five mascots for the 2008 Olympic Games. After months of secrecy, the mascots were revealed at an elaborate ceremony Friday, that marked 1,000 days before the opening ceremonies.
The five doll-like cartoon characters were presented live in a nationally televised gala at a Beijing sports arena. The colorful mascots include a panda bear, a Tibetan antelope, a swallow, a fish and the Olympic flame. The names of the characters when put together translate to "Beijing Welcomes You."
Officials say the mascots will be at the center of the marketing drive for the 2008 Summer Games. Olympic host cities keep 10 to 15 percent of the royalties, helping to defray the costs of staging the Games.
More than 300 licensed products of the mascot will be on sale Saturday at 188 authorized venues across China.
Some information for this story provided by AFP and Reuters.