By Daniel Etchells

The mascots from Moscow 1980, Athens 2004, Beijing 2008 and London 2012 will be flying to Rio de Janeiro ©Rio 2016The identity of Rio 2016's mascots for the Olympic and Paralympic Games is set to be announced in the coming days after it was revealed they will welcome five of their predecessors to Rio de Janeiro on Thursday (November 20).

The unveiling of the Rio 2016 mascots will mark the most important moment so far of a merchandise programme aiming to raise BRL1 billion (£263 million/$420 million/€329 million).

Misha from Moscow 1980, Athena from Athens 2004, Fu Niu Lele from Beijing 2008, and Wenlock and Mandeville from London 2012, will land at Tom Jobim International Airport at 11am.

The quintet will visit the Sugerloaf Mountain, a peak situated at the mouth of Guanabara Bay on a peninsula that sticks out into the Atlantic Ocean, on Friday (November 21).

On Saturday (November 22), they will be taken on a mini tour of the Maracanã Stadium, due to host the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the Rio 2016 Games.

The quintet of mascots will visit the Maracanã Stadium ©Getty ImagesThe quintet of mascots will visit the Maracanã Stadium ©Getty Images

Children from the Rio 2016 Education Programme will accompany the mascots on the visits, which will involve picnics and storytelling about the Games.

There has been a long-running campaign by environmentalists to try to persuade Rio 2016 to choose the endangered golden lion tamarin, native to the Atlantic coastal forests of Brazil, as its mascot.

The mascot of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, Fuleco the armadillo, failed to generate much interest and was even burned by demonstrators at protests before the competition had begun.

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

elated stories
October 2014: 
Rio 2016 to reveal mascot that will "live in hearts of the fans" next month