Yesterday the 2012 London Olympics unveiled their official mascots, Wenlock and Mandeville, two one-eyed futuristic drops of steel. Based on a story by children’s author Michael Morpurgo, the metallic characters were “created” from the final support girder for the Olympic Stadium in East London. Sound strange? It gets much weirder. After the jump, we evaluate mascots from past Olympic games, separating out the best from the worst.
1. 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics – Miga, Quatchi, and Sumi
Quatchi is a fictional Sasquatch with a weather-conscious attitude and the Vancouver logo on his arm. Miga is a combination between an Orca whale and a kermode bear (an orker?). Sumi, technically the mascot for the Paralympics, is a mythical creature from Canadian folklore. You had us at tattooed Sasquatch.
2. 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics – Beibei, Jingjing, Huanhuan, Yingying, and Nini
These Pokémon-esque characters each represent an Olympic ring and an element of Feung Shui. From left to right they are a fish, a panda, the Olympic flame, a Tibetan antelope, and a swallow. Gotta catch ’em all!
3. 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics – Hare, Coyote, and Bear
These three local animals are supposed to represent the Olympic motto “Citius, Altius, Fortius” (Faster, Higher, Stronger). The hare was fast; the coyote reached higher places; and the bear was strong and brave. Animals in cold weather outfits = automatic points in our book.
4. 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics – Snow Owls
Sukki, Nokki, Lekki and Tsukki. Don’t ask us which owl is which. Sure they look a little odd with their jagged triangular noses, but the design is just quirky enough that we can see them being sold as plushies in an Urban Outfitters.
5. 1992 Barcelona Summer Olympics – Cobi
A cubist, Catalan Sheepdog, this pup won us over with his sharp suit and Picasso-inspired features. We don’t quite understand what the design has to do with the Olympics, but this dog is one hep cat.
1. 2010 London Summer Olympics – Wenlock and Mandeville
We like shiny things, but we’re confused as to how two drops of steel are supposed to appeal to the general public. Especially when they have a single, giant eye.
3. 2006 Turin Winter Olympics – Neve and Gliz
An anthropomorphic snowball and ice cube. ‘Nuff said.
3. 2000 Sydney Summer Olympics – Olly, Syd, and Mille
These mascots look like the stuff of nightmares. Olly’s open beak seems especially menacing to us for some reason. Why not try a cuddly kangaroo next time?
4. 1980 Lake Placid Winter Olympics – Roni
Created by illustrator Donald Moss, Roni the Raccoon was a last-minute replacement for Rocky the Raccoon, a live animal that died before the games began. Our condolences, but he looks like a cheap prize from a crane machine.
5. 1976 Montreal Summer Olympics – Amik
“Amik” means beaver in the Algonquin language, and is the national symbol of the Great White North. We know it was the ’70s and things were simpler, but could this be any less visually stimulating?