A nationwide competition has been launched today to find a mascot for the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.
Queensland's Minister for the Commonwealth Games Kate Jones urged all Australians to enter a hand-drawn design during a ceremony at Carrara Stadium, an event broadcast across the country on Channel 7 morning programme Sunrise.
Jones was joined by several other mascots from the Gold Coast region to help launch the competition.
“The mascot will welcome 6,500 athletes and officials to the Gold Coast and thousands of international visitors,” she said.
“We’re looking for a fun, energetic and friendly character that will inspire people from all over the world to come to the Gold Coast for the Games."
Jones added: “The mascot will be sporty, adventurous and enjoy travelling all over the world to places like India, Canada, Jamaica and England to get people excited about GC2018.
“The mascot will be passionate about the Gold Coast and Australia, and will inspire people to get involved in the Games.
“The winning design will be developed into Games merchandise including toys and clothing so this really is an exciting opportunity for everyone.
“All Australians, from the youngest to the oldest, are invited to enter by drawing a character that will capture the imagination of the entire Commonwealth.
“The winner will receive four tickets to the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony, including flights and accommodation."
Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate claimed the official mascot for Gold Coast 2018 was an important part of capturing the spirit and identity of the event.
“Development of the mascot is not only a great opportunity to get involved in the Games, it’s also about bringing everyone on the journey,” he said.
“A competition is a fun way to be creative and think outside the square.
“We need a mascot that’s truly unique, so I’m calling on everyone to get involved and submit their ideas."
Whatever is chosen will be joining a family that stretches back to Edmonton 1978 when Keyano, a grizzly bear, became the first Commonwealth Games mascot.
Mascots at previous Commonwealth Games hosted in Australia have been a kangaroo called Matilda at Brisbane 1982 and Karak, a south-eastern Red-tailed Black Cockatoo, at Melbourne 2006.
Other mascots have included a scottie dog at Edinburgh 1986, a Kiwi at Auckland 1990, a killer whale at Victoria 1988, an organg utan at Kuala Lumpur 1998, a cat at Manchester 2002 and a tiger at Delhi 2010.
Glasgow 2014 became the first Commonwealth Games to choose a mascot that was not representative of an animal when they had the hugely popular Clyde, a thistle.
Gold Coast 2018 chairman Nigel Chamier claimed the competition would help raise enthusiasm for the Games across Australia and hoped it will be as successful as it proved at Glasgow 2014.
“The mascot search is the first time we’ve engaged the entire country in GC2018,” he said.
“Opening the competition up like this will guarantee that we get a mascot that will represent the Gold Coast, Queensland and Australia on the world stage in a truly unique way.
“The mascot must inspire, educate and entertain and there are 23 million people out there who can be a part of helping us unearth that character.
“We encourage everyone to put pen to paper – their creative inspiration could earn them an experience like 12-year-old Glaswegian school girl, Beth Gilmour winning designer of Clyde the Thistle, the highly successful mascot for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games."
Entries for the competition are due to close on July 27.
More details of how to enter can be found by clicking here.