2002 Winter Olympic Mascots Named

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Salt Lake City, UT Sept 25 (AP)--A rabbit named Powder, a coyote named Copper and a bear called Coal are the new mascots for the 2002 Winter Olympics.

And Salt Lake organizers hope the furry critters, whose names were announced Saturday, bring the kind of money to the games that Utah's skiing, copper industry, coal mining have brought the state.

The names were revealed just a day after the Salt Lake Organizing Committee announced that toy maker Mattel Inc. would make stuffed versions of the mascots in a deal guaranteed to generate at least $1 million. The stuffed animals will go on sale as early as this holiday season in Utah for $10 to $40.

The snowshoe hare, coyote and bear, all characters in western Indian myth, first appeared in May. They were scheduled to debut in February, but the scandal of excessive wooing of International Olympic Committee members by Salt Lake bidders to win the games stalled the festivities.

After the unveiling, SLOC took suggestions for names from 42,000 Utah schoolchildren, whittled the selections down, and opened them up to a nationwide vote. The other options were Sky, Cliff and Shadow or Arrow, Bolt and Rocky.

SLOC President Mitt Romney said the chosen names represent Utah, with ``Powder'' symbolizing the state's claim to ``the greatest snow on earth'' and ``Copper'' and ``Coal'' representing the land.

But the mascots are also meant to represent the Latin Olympic motto: ``Citius, Altius, Fortius,'' or ``Swifter, Higher, Stronger,'' with the rabbit moving swiftly, the coyote climbing high, and the bear representing strength. In addition, each mascot wears a charm around its neck modeled after the rock drawings of Utah's ancient tribes.

The mascots' names were announced during halftime at BYU's football game against Virginia in Provo.

Copyright © 1999 The Associated Press