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/ Source: TODAY
By Drew Weisholtz

The 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing are a few years away but China is one step closer to hosting the spectacle.

A panda named Bing Dwen Dwen was unveiled Tuesday as the mascot.

“‘Bing’ means ice and also symbolises purity and strength, and ‘Dwen Dwen’ represents children,” the International Olympic Organization said in a statement announcing the news. “The mascot embodies the strength and willpower of athletes and will help to promote the Olympic spirit.”

The panda isn’t just a cute creature designed to make kids smile, though.

The mascot for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, Bing Dwen Dwen, is projected to a screen on the stage during the official unveiling of the mascot in Beijing on Sept. 17, 2019.Noel Celis / Getty Images

“Bing Dwen Dwen is encased in a full-body ‘shell’ made of ice, and the heart shape in its left palm represents the host country’s hospitality,” the statement read. “The bright colours of the halo around its face represent ice and snow sport tracks, signifying connectivity and advanced technologies. The newly launched Olympic mascot resembles an astronaut, embracing new technologies for a future with infinite possibilities.”

Bing Dwen Dwen isn't the only mascot making its debut, though.

"The Paralympic mascot, also revealed today, is called Shuey Rhon Rhon, a lantern child ready to welcome friends from around the world. The name signifies warmth, friendship, courage and perseverance," the IOC said.

Team USA was thrilled the duo will join in the fun.

"Welcome to the family #BingDwenDwen and #ShueyRhonRhon! We can't wait to meet you #Beijing2022," the team wrote.

Organizers for next year's Summer Olympics in Tokyo are thrilled to have Bing Dwen Dwen in the fold.

"Welcome to the world, #BingDwenDwen!" the games' account wrote.

Bing Dwen Dwen's introduction generated a positive reaction elsewhere on social media, too, with several people giving the character a thumbs-up.

"#BingDwenDwen is adorable," wrote one person.

"I’m not exaggerating when I say I would die to protect #BingDwenDwen," another person commented.

"Awwww the cutest mascot everrr," someone else wrote.

The 2022 Winter Games will take place in Beijing, beginning Feb. 4 and concluding Feb. 20. It will mark the first time the winter edition will take place in China and the second time the capital city will host the Olympics.