By Nick Butler
Rio 2016's Olympic and Paralympic mascots will be named Vinicius and Tom, it has been announced.
After the unveiling of the bright yellow and cat-like mascot, with a green leaf-haired brother, last month, a three-week long popular vote process has been underway across Brazil, with 323,327 votes ultimately registered.
The two chosen names honour iconic Brazilian musicians Vinicius de Moraes and Tom Jobim, exponents of "Bossa Nova", a movement that made everyone know and sing about the beauties of Rio.
They created the song The Girl from Ipanema, considered by some one of the most played songs in the world and have been described by the Organising Committee as a "well-tuned duo, like our mascots".
"The names of Vinicius and Tom are recognised worldwide as a synonym for excellence, which is in line with what we want to achieve with the Rio 2016 Games," said Rio 2016 President Carlos Nuzman after the announcement.
"In addition to representing the Brazilian fauna and flora, our mascots also connect to the best of our music.
"We are certain that they will be an inspiration to the youth."
Vinicius, the Olympic mascot, represents all of the different animals in Brazil - from the agility of cats, the sway of monkeys and the grace of birds - it was explained, while Paralympic counterpart Tom, is a "unique mixture of the Brazilian flora".
The duo will join an illustrious list of Olympic and Paralympic mascots, most recently including London 2012's Wenlock and Beijing's quintet of Beibei, Jingjing, Huanhuan, Yingying and Nini.
Beth Lula, Brand Director of Rio 2016, added: "The choice of the names Vinicius and Tom adds even more 'Brazilianness' to our mascots, which are ambassadors of the Games.
"Their role is to share the messages of the event and the values of the Olympic and Paralympic Movements to various audiences, especially children and youth."
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