Vinicius (sometimes Vinícius) is the official mascot of the 2016 Summer Olympics, and Tom is the official mascot of the 2016 Summer Paralympics. Both events were held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The mascots were created by São Paulo-based animation company Birdo, which was selected by a national tender process that began in November 2012. Vinicius’s design represents Brazilian wildlife, combining aspects of cats, monkeys, and birds, while Tom’s design represents Brazilian plant life.
Tenders to create the mascots were only accepted from design, illustration, animation, and advertising companies from Brazil. The final designs were unanimously selected in August 2013 by a jury comprising media professionals and representatives from various Olympic organizations. They were revealed to the public without names on 23 November 2014. Following a three-week online vote which ended on 14 December 2014, the public named the two mascots after Vinicius de Moraes and Tom Jobim, the creators of the 1962 bossa nova song “The Girl from Ipanema”.
Media involving the mascots includes various merchandise and a series of two-minute animated shorts that were broadcast onCartoon Network Brazil. Plush dolls of Vinicius were provided to coaches during the Olympic wrestling events to throw into the ring when they wished to challenge a referee’s call, a practice many observers found humorous. All Paralympic medalists received a plush doll of Tom, with the leaves on Tom’s head the same color as their respective medals. The mascots received mixed reactions from critics, some praising their appearance while others calling them “strange-looking”