Saturday, December 29, 2012

Olympic Mascots

2012 was a special year for London, since it held the Olympic Games. Still, the British capital has a feel of greatness, due to the success of the Games. One aspect which fascinates many, bringing excitement before, during and after the Olympics are the Mascots. The mascots began their Olympic history since the 1972 Munich Games, becoming therefore an important element of the Olympic image. As a popular image of vitality, a mascot manifests the Olympic spirit, communicates the concepts of each Olympic Games, promotes the history and culture of the host city and creates a festive atmosphere for the games. Mascots act as a vehicle for expressing the Olympic spirit to the general public, children and adults.
Here we will show all the mascots from 1972 -2012. The varied sizes, colours, themes show the differences between the host cities.

Waldi, the dachshund, was the mascot of the 1972 Munich Olympics. Very popular in Bavaria, Waldi also possesses qualities that are indispensable to an athlete: resistance, tenacity and agility. These are among the reasons he was chosen to be the mascot. Waldi was dressed in pastel colours in order to express the gaiety and joy of the Olympic festival.

Montreal’s mascot from 1976 was Amik, a beaver named for the Algonquian word for beaver, the national animal of Canada, symbolising also hard work. Algonquian is the most commonly spoken language amongst Native Americans in Canada.

The Moscow Olympic Mascot, 1980, was called Misha, which was a bear, developed by the renowned illustrator of children’s books Victor Chizikov. Misha became an instant international success.

The 1984 Los Angeles mascot was Sam, designed by Walt Disney. Sam is a cartoon eagle who is dressed in the style of the legendary Uncle Sam, with a star-spangled background in red, white and blue, the national colours of the USA. Commercial use of Olympic mascots was initiated at this point.

The 1988 Olympic mascot was a small tiger named Hodori, representing Seoul. Hodori was designed as a friendly tiger that portrayed the friendly and hospitable traditions of Koreans. Ho derives from the Korean word for tiger, whilst Dori is a diminutive for boys in Korea. The friendly tiger of Seoul wore the Olympic Rings around its neck, much like a medal, while sporting a traditional Korean dance hat on its head.

The mascot from the Barcelona Olympics was a dog named Cobi. The Barcelona Olympic Organising Committee had specially produced a TV series for Cobi to portray the spirit of the games.

Izzy, the mascot of the 1996 Olymic Summer Games in Atlanta, was the first mascot designed on a computer. Izzy is an amorphous abstract fantasy figure whose name was derived from the question: What is it?

Syd, Olly and Millie are three native Australian animals chosen as mascots for the Sydney 2000 Games. They represent earth, air and water. Olly, a name derived from the word Olympic, is a kookaburra that epitomises the Olympic spirit of generosity; Syd, derives from the Australian capital Sydney, which is a platypus that represents the environment and captures the vigour and energy of Australia and its people; Millie symbolises the millennium, which is an echidna, a technology whiz and information guru, with all the facts and figures at her fingertips. 

The Athens 2004 Olympic Mascots, Athena and Phevos, with their wide feet, long necks and tiny heads, are based on dolls, thousands of years old, found at archaeological sites in Greece. Greek mythology had it that Phevos and Athena are brother and sister, named after two Greek gods: Phevos, the god of light and music and Athena, goddess of wisdom and patron of the city of Athens.

The 2008 Beijing Games mascots were called Fuwa, meaning “Good Luck dolls”. They were designed by Han Meilin 1000 days before the opening ceremony of the 2008 Olympics. The Fuwas comprise of five members, representing the five traditional Chinese elements that include Beibel, Jingjing, Huanhuan, Yingying and Nini. The five figures also represent the five Olympic Rings.

The London 2012 mascots were Wenlock and Mandeville, the latter being the mascot for the Paralympics. Wenlock’s name was inspired by the Wenlock Olympian Society, an annual Olympic event held in Wenlock, England. Wenlock wears five bracelets, representing the five Olympic rings. The three points on his head symbolise the three podiums of the winners. The shape of his head is the same shape as the Olympic stadium and on his body the logo of the game is printed. Mandevielle, on the other hand, wears a pink watch set to 0:20:12 and on his head there are three points in red, blue and green representing the agitos, which is the symbol of the Paralympic Games.

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