London, United Kingdom — Hero the Hedgehog has today been revealed as the official mascot for the IAAF World Championships London 2017 following a nationwide search in partnership with iconic BBC children's television show Blue Peter.
Hero was created by Elinor, aged nine from the West Midlands, and stood out from an overwhelming response of more than 4000 entries to the official mascot competition run by organisers and Blue Peter in February.
Elinor impressed a stellar judging panel including representatives from the organising committee, the IAAF and Blue Peter as well as Olympic champion Jessica Ennis-Hill, who helped launch the search.
From the entries received, 29 of the top 30 were submitted by children outside of London with Elinor's important message about the status of hedgehogs - numbers are on the decline in the UK - touching the judging panel as they narrowed down the winner.
Elinor has already enjoyed a VIP visit to see Hero come to life and will also receive four tickets to a session at the IAAF World Championships London 2017, a VIP tour of the London Stadium, a framed photo of the finished mascot and a Blue Peter orange competition badge.
As well as creating Hero the Hedgehog, Elinor designed Whizbee the Bee who is the official mascot of the World Para Athletics Championships.
"It is so exciting that my designs were chosen as the winner," said Elinor. "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."
"I really enjoyed being part of the judging panel for the London 2017 mascot design competition," added Ennis-Hill. "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."
"On behalf of everyone at the Local Organising Committee, I would like to say congratulations to Elinor for her winning designs, Whizbee the Bee and Hero the Hedgehog," said championship director Niels de Vos.
"As proven by the great number of entries, children across the UK are being inspired by both championships being held in the same year for the first time ever and we are working hard to engage them as much as possible."
The IAAF World Championships London 2017 will be held on 4-13 August.