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Olympic mascots and their meanings

POSTED: 8:04 AM PDT July 16, 2012    UPDATED: 9:00 PM PST February 12, 2014 

With the 2016 Summer Olympics nearly here, look back at four decades of Olympic mascots and their meanings.

2016 Summer Olympics mascot
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Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

With the 2016 Summer Olympics nearly here, look back at four decades of Olympic mascots and their meanings, starting with Vinicius, the mascot for the Rio Games. Vinicius is a representation of Brazilian wildlife, including "the agility of cat, the balancing skills of a monkey and the grace of a bird," and symbolizes the "energy and joie de vivre exuded by the Brazilian people." Vinicius was named after famed Brazilian artist Vinicius de Moraes.

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