Thousands lined the beach at Burleigh Heads this morning for the unveiling of the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games mascot.
Borobi the Koala was revealed as the official mascot for the Games after he was winched down onto the beach from a helicopter. Once safely on the sand, the bright blue koala was handed a new surfboard from surfing legend Mark Occhilupo.
Borobi was dressed in appropriate Gold Coast attire for his first ever appearance – a t-shirt and boardshorts.
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Borobi – which means koala in indigenous Yugambeh language – will play a key role in welcoming the athletes of the world and bringing to life the true spirit of the Games. He will also take centre stage at the Games’ opening ceremony which will be held in exactly two years time.
— 7 News Queensland (@7NewsQueensland) April 3, 2016
It is the first time a koala has been chosen as the mascot of a major Australian multisport event. Inspired by a drawing by Brisbane school teacher Merrilyn Krohn, the winner of the GC2018 Mascot Design Competition, Borobi’s outgoing and positive personality will invite the world to Share the Dream™ of GC2018.
Commonwealth Games Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said koalas were a popular choice for many who entered the mascot design competition. “A large number of koala drawings were submitted in the competition, more than any other animal, proving just how popular this iconic Australian marsupial is and what a great choice we’ve made in Borobi,” he said.
— Borobi (@borobi2018) April 3, 2016
Borobi’s hand drawn design took the judges’ eyes because of a number of unique characteristics. That design was then finessed by Brisbane designers SapientNitro and animation specialists Cutting Edge.
Winning designer Merrilyn Krohn said designing the mascot was ‘something I thought I could have a go at’. “An idea came to mind as soon as I heard about the competition and I just spent the rest of the day drawing the design,” Merrilyn said. “I add drawings into my teaching. It’s part of connecting with the children and having a laugh with them. I need to have them draw for their inspiration and that leads on to their writing and their creativity. If I can demonstrate something to them through drawing, it all follows on from there,” Merrilyn said.
Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Corporation (GOLDOC) Chairman Nigel Chamier AM said Borobi will have an important role to play over the coming two years. “Mascots have become iconic symbols of the Commonwealth Games, providing an emotional connection between athletes, spectators and the community,” Mr Chamier said. “When we challenged the Australian community to design the GC2018 mascot we were not only overwhelmed by the response and quality of the entries, but by the excitement that was generated by the very chance to create the personality of the Games.
“Borobi joins two very memorable mascots from previous Commonwealth Games hosted in Australia, Matilda at the Brisbane 1982 Commonwealth Games and Melbourne 2006’s Karak, a south-eastern Red-tailed Black Cockatoo.
“As the Commonwealth gets to know Borobi and his life story over the coming two years, they will be carried along on his exciting journey. And through him they will discover the wonderful values of the Gold Coast and the Australian way of life,” he said.
David Grevemberg CBE, Chief Executive of the Commonwealth Games Federation, said he is delighted to welcome the addition of Borobi to the Commonwealth Games movement’s long line of loveable mascots. “Borobi will connect athletes, sport and the Games with young people and communities; but far more than a cuddly icon, he’ll promote Australia and powerful messages about its natural and aboriginal heritage to the world,” Mr Grevemberg said.
Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate was characteristically excited about Borobi’s arrival. “When residents, visitors, officials, athletes and sponsors reflect on the success of an event such as the Commonwealth Games, their memories of the Games’ official mascot is vital,” Mayor Tate said. “This mascot will bring just the right enthusiasm, fun and energy our city is renowned for and will be part of the lasting legacy of what is shaping to be a great Games. Borobi will be as memorable to our children as Matilda was to those who enjoyed Brisbane in 1982.’’