Paris 2024 President Tony Estanguet introduces the Paris 2024 mascots ©ITG

Tony Estanguet, Paris 2024 President, said that organisers asked themselves a big question before they embarked on creating mascots for the next Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games - "how can we be different?"

The triple Olympic canoeing champion told gathered press here after the revelation of the chosen mascots, Les Phryges: "We wanted to embody in a physical manner the adventure upon which we are embarked.

"We are very excited to be unveiling the mascot and also to see your reactions.

"We asked ourselves - how can we put things on their head?

"How can we be different?

"We want to stand out and to move away from the traditional mascot that was so often an animal.

"We wanted an ideal.

"The word revolution is part of the French identity, and we want these Games to have that identity.

"Phyrgian Cap is a symbol of freedom, of liberty, which means we want to make this a very French idea."

Les Phryges make a first appearance in the real world at the Paris 2024 headquarters in Saint-Denis today  ©ITG
Les Phryges make a first appearance in the real world at the Paris 2024 headquarters in Saint-Denis today ©ITG

When insidethegamesuggested that, after producing a logo that did not include the Tour Eiffel, and now a mascot that was not an animal, the bar for surprises at the Paris 2024 Games has already been set high, Estanguet responded: "Yes it is, that's true. 

"We are on a mission!"

Asked if the name of the mascots, Les Phryges, was difficult to pronounce, and whether it was considered to give the mascots a different name, Julie Matikhine, the Paris 2024 brand manager, replied: "French is not an easy language and it is a difficult world to pronounce, but we thought if we really wanted to anchor this story and this ideal, then adding a name to a name would have been not that easy and even fuzzier and not comprehensible.

"We understand it is French and not an easy word to pronounce but so far all the non-French people we have introduced the idea to have understood it.

"So our mascots are called the Olympic and Paralympic Phrygians.

"The mascots you saw here are prototypes. 

"Others will have arms and will be able to hug people and be able to do some sports."

The mascots - which are being produced in China - will be available from today at the Paris 2024 store and in chosen stores and service stations elsewhere.

Estanguet added: "We will be using recycled materials in production.

"Overall the target production figure is two million mascots sold during the Games, so we have decided to base ourselves on this number of mascots.

"Some of the mascots will be produced in other areas of France, including Brittany. 

"So this gives the Games another legacy."