News

'Whizzbee' and 'Hero' Revealed as Official Mascots for the Summer of World Athletics

19 April 2017

Whizbee the Bee and Hero the Hedgehog have today (Thursday 20 April) 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. It’s really cool getting them made into proper mascots. I can’t wait to see them in the
summer.”


Jessica Ennis-Hill said: “I really enjoyed being part of the judging panel for the London 2017
mascot design competition. Having stepped away from the track it was nice to be asked to
be involved in this year’s World Championships in a different way.
“As a mum I love the idea of London 2017 and Blue Peter encouraging youngsters to get
involved with the Championships by designing the mascots. There were so many good,
creative designs it was pretty hard to choose a winner.
“I think Elinor’s reason for choosing a bee and hedgehog, and the fact that they are creatures
in our everyday lives in Britain, made the designs stand out. Hopefully the mascots will bring
a lot of fun and energy to the Championships.”


Double Paralympic champion Richard Whitehead said: “Being part of the judging panel was
a great experience. It was difficult to choose the winner from the thousands of youngsters
who entered designs through Blue Peter but Whizbee and Hero illustrate exactly what we
were looking for.


“They are innovative, imaginative and bold and with a touching message that we need to do
more to protect these species. As a dad, the values of the Championships are really important
to me and London 2017 offers so much to inspire youngsters. Running at the Championships
knowing I have played a part in something for athletes and spectators to engage with is really
exciting and I can’t wait to celebrate success with Whizbee in July.”


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.”


Ewan Vinnicombe, Editor, Blue Peter, said: “Whizbee and Hero are the perfect partners for
the Summer of World Athletics. They really capture the inspirational spirit of the competition
whilst also sharing Blue Peter’s passion for raising awareness of the important issues
surrounding the environment. Elinor’s designs are simply brilliant.”


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/.