Sochi_frog_mascotFebruary 7 - Russia's largest broadcaster Channel One will tonight present 13 candidates to become the official mascot of the 2014 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games in Sochi.

The 10-minute television show, in which animated characters will call on Russians to support them in the nationwide SMS-vote, will begin at 21:30 Moscow time (18:30 GMT).

No fewer than 24,048 designs were sent to the Sochi 2014 Organising Committee before the close of the competition.

On December 21, after the closing date for entries, the expert panel of judges came together to hold an official discussion.

The members of the panel held a vote, as a result of which 10 groups of designs for the Olympic mascots qualified for the second round of the competition.

They were hare, a dolphin, a polar bear, a brown bear, a bullfinch, a leopard, a snowball/a snowman/an icicle, the sun, little people, Father Frost (the Russian Santa Claus); and three sets of ideas for the Paralympic Games mascot: A "matryoshka" (set of Russian dolls)/weeble toy, a dolphin and a bullfinch.

The winner is due to be announced in late February.

A nationwide competition to find a mascot for the 2014 Olympics kicked off on September 1, 2010.

The mascot "should encompass a range of features characteristic of Russia, and at the same time be intelligible to people of every age, profession and nationality," organisers said earlier.

The winners will have its very own home, located at, web-site of the ideas forum for the Sochi 2014 Olympic and Paralympic Games mascot competition.

The mascots' new home will be open later this month to all website visitors, who will be able to examine its interior and technical "contents", read about the lifestyle and individual personalities of the mascots,  upload the latest news updates and photos.

Russian-speaking internet users are not the only audience who will have the opportunity to visit the mascots' new virtual home.

A new feature will offer guests the option to switch languages on the site, enabling audiences from all over the world to have a glimpse into the lives of the Sochi 2014 mascots.

Website visitors will also be able to learn about the history of the past Olympic mascots, view the expert panel who judged the mascot contest and find out which characters are in the running to be named the mascot of the Sochi 2014 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.

The functionality of the site will continue to be developed over time, but the precise additional features will be kept under wraps in order for them to be a surprise for all new visitors.

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