IAAF World Championships London 2017 unveils Hero the Hedgehog as official mascot

Excitement around the IAAF World Championships London 2017 has spiked again after Hero the Hedgehog came out of hibernation to be unveiled as the championships' official mascot following a nationwide competition with iconic BBC children's TV programme Blue Peter to discover the next mascot designer.

20/04/2017 00:01

Created by Elinor, aged nine from the West Midlands, Hero was the outstanding design among more than 4000 entries selected by a star-studded judging panel made up of members of the organising committee, the IAAF and elite athletes including Olympic and triple world heptathlon champion Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill, who helped launch the mascot competition back in January. 

A critter native to mainland Britain, hedgehogs tend to come out of hibernation around April, just in time for the IAAF World Championships London 2017. With easily recognisble spines, a long pointy snout and soft fur on the face and belly Hero the Hedgehog will be visible to fans around the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park throughout the 10 days of action from 4-13 August.

Of the best 30 entries submitted, 29 of them were sent by children outside of London, demonstrating the wide reach and growing excitement ahead of the IAAF World Championships.

As well as creating Hero, Elinor also designed Whizbee the Bee, the mascot of the World Para Athletics Championships London 2017, taking place from 14-23 July and kicking off a huge Summer of World Athletics.

Elinor said: “It is so exciting that my designs were chosen as the winner. I was so happy when I was told. When I saw the competition, I was really inspired but I didn’t think I would win.

"I chose Whizbee and Hero because they are endangered species and are survivors. Bees are really important because they make the world go around and hedgehogs are determined and brave. It’s really cool getting them made into proper mascots. I can’t wait to see them in the summer.”

Elinor has already enjoyed a look behind the scenes to see how her design of Hero has been brought to life and she will also receive four VIP tickets to a session at the IAAF World Championships, a VIP tour of the London Stadium, a framed photo of the finished mascot and a Blue Peter orange competition badge. The two top runners-up will also each receive a VIP stadium tour and tickets to the championships as well as a framed picture of their designs and a Blue Peter orange competition badge.

Ennis-Hill is the current world champion in the heptathlon after coming back from giving birth to her first child just 13 months before. She said: “I really enjoyed being part of the judging panel for the London 2017 mascot design competition. Having stepped away from the track it was nice to be asked to be involved in this year’s World Championships in a different way.

“As a mum I love the idea of London 2017 and Blue Peter encouraging youngsters to get involved with the Championships by designing the mascots. There were so many good, creative designs it was pretty hard to choose a winner. 

“I think Elinor’s reason for choosing a bee and hedgehog, and the fact that they are creatures in our everyday lives in Britain, made the designs stand out. Hopefully the mascots will bring a lot of fun and energy to the Championships.”