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 BBC children’s television show Blue Peter.
Whizbee and Hero were created by Elinor, aged nine from the West Midlands and stood out from more than 4,000 entries to the official mascot competition run by organisers and Blue Peter in February.
Elinor's work was judged by 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 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.
Organisers conducted a 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.
Niels de Vos, championship director, said: “On behalf of everyone at the Local Organising Committee, I would like to say congratulations to Elinor for her winning designs, Whizbee the Bee and Hero the Hedgehog. I would also like to thank Blue Peter for helping us to launch our search for a winning mascot design. Blue Peter has been an inspiration to kids for generations, just as our top athletes like Jess and Richard have been.
“As proven by the great number of entries, children across the UK are being inspired by both Championships being held in the same year for the first time ever and we are working hard to engage them as much as possible. Our Usain Bolt inspired children’s ticket has been extended for the IAAF World Championships, our schools ticket offer for the World Para Athletics Championships was rolled out nationwide and over 400 schools have signed up to receive free curriculum linked athletics resources through our Starting Blocks education programme.”