Vinicius and Tom named 2016 Olympics mascots

In this photo released by Rio 2016 Organizing Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games, the mascots of Rio 2016 Olympic, left, and Paralympic Games pose for a photo at the Leme Fort, with Copabana beach, left, in the background, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014. The Mascots are inspired by the Brazilian fauna and flora. (AP Photo/Rio 2016, Alex Ferro)

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — The mascot for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro has been named Vinicius, and the Paralympics mascot will go by the name of Tom.

The names honor Brazilian musicians and partners Vinicius de Moraes and Tom Jobim. They were exponents of Bossa Nova music and creators of the famous song “The Girl from Ipanema.”

The Rio organizing committee offered three choices for the mascot pairs, and it said Vinicius and Tom were chosen in a vote in which about 320,000 people participated.

Vinicius is a yellow cat-like creature that represents Brazil’s fauna, and Tom is a bushy-headed figure reminiscent of the country’s diverse flora.

The mascots will head a merchandising effort to sell about $400 million in Olympic-branded products.

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