The Winter Olympics has been under way in Pyeongchang for just over a week now, and people are still confused about it.
Be it the vagaries of the Hog-Line rule in curling, or what makes a triple Axel so much better than a triple toe loop.
What has fans scratching their heads the most though is why all the medal winners are given teddy bears (White Tiger teddy bears to be precise), at the winners’ ceremony after each event instead of medals.
The medals are instead given out at a nightly award ceremony each evening, and the IOC has a very reasonable explanation for this.
Logistical reasons mean that it is much easier and fitting to put on one large ceremony each night to award all the victors their medals.
It saves on time organising the specifics at the time of an event concluding, a relatively small window compared to doing it later in a more controlled setting.
This wouldn’t be possible at the summer Games they have said, because there are far more events, the ceremony would run on too long and be a logistical nightmare to get right.
A stuffed toy though is an unusual sight. Usually athletes would be handed some flowers to signify their triumph, but this was changed for the 2016 summer Games, as it was deemed unsustainable.
As part of lessening the environmental damage caused by the games, toys or small trophies are now used instead of flowers.
In Korea, said stuffed toy is Sohoorang, the white tiger. Who is a key figure in their tradition, long considered to be their guardian animal.
The paper flowers in his hat are called uhsahwa, and these were bestowed to all those who completed national exams during the Joseon dynasty (1392-1910).
Rather than just a mental examination though, these athletes are coming through a physical one also, so the sentiment is a meaningful and appropriate one.
The name of the tiger also contains a reference to the folk song “Jeong-seon A ri-rang”, which originated in the Gangwon province where the games are being held.
Rather than the focal point being on the historical significance of the mascot, though, it seems the stand out feature for most viewers is just how adorable it is.
Amy Suzanna tweeted: “Really want one of those white tiger Winter Olympic mascot teddies. They are the CUTEST.”
Another asked: “How do I get one of those Olympic teddies, without winning an Olympic? #winterolympics”.
Well, random user, and whomever else might be interested, you can buy them on amazon for £39.95. Sadly, though, the cute hat is not included by the looks of it.