Mascots are terrific aren’t they? The way they gesture and point and are constantly amazed by what’s going on. Also, when they get hurt it’s hilarious because you see a furry moose in a uniform gesturing wildly to their broken leg. Don’t break kayfabe, moose! You have to keep up the code of the mascot while you feel part of your shin sticking through your human flesh and poking your mascot fur. What I’m getting at here, is that I love mascots. They are ridiculous and wonderful and they’ve taught furries how to love. What’s not to like?
I’m also a fan of the Olympics. In my heart I know that the Olympics are an advertising bonanza disguised as a sporting event that completely sells out every noble aspect it claims to embody, but my love of the spectacle overwhelms me. Countries v. Countries in sports I never watch? Sign me up! Plus there’s melodrama, hyperbole and weird uniforms. I can’t pass on that. It’s the sort of thing I book time off work for. Y’know, the whimsy that is watching strangers equestrian/pole vault/judo the shit out of a summer’s day.
I thought it might be fun to look at Olympic mascots through the years. Some are pure nonsense, others are whimsical and some are painfully Canadian (we’re a culture of dorks!). Check ‘em out and my blabbery after the jump.
Introductory Note: This post will likely go better than my Goodwill Games mascot post.
London 2012 - Wenlock & Mandeville
My goodness these mascots are terrifying. They look like a repressed memory mixed with a British children’s TV series I just made up called Oi! Blub Blub Blubshire! I understand from a conceptual standpoint why you would think metal drops with cameras for eyes would be a good idea…wait I’m lying on that. I have no idea how this passed through multiple stages. METAL CREATURES IN CREAMSICLE COLOURS ARE GONNA LET YOU KNOW THAT ENGLAND IS BACK BACK BACK! Are they going with a “oh boy, Shaun Ryder is mumbling to himself in the methadone clinic again” motif? You have a Queen. Just make her the mascot. She could hand out Powerade and place her hands over her face to express disappointment. Step your game up, London.
Vancouver 2010 - Quatchi, Miga, Sumi (& sometimes Mukmuk)
I’d watch a sitcom featuring these three guys. Although they do look like refugees from a window painting advertising a cafe’s new commitment to “fusion revival wraps”. It’s the sort of cafe that has cute elements to it but you resent the people inside based on their commitment to being hip. “Grrr, you can’t all dress like you’re on Blossom,” I’d say! I’ll learn later in life that I was wrong for being so judgmental about that cafe (“I guess this means it was me all along that was the snob. I’m sorry, The Foodchipper.”), but I’ll have Stage 6 Space Pox so it’ll be too late for me to be super upset about it.
Beijing 2008 - Fuwa
China (that place that people who wear suspenders and hang out all day in the mall are always angry about) gave us not one, not two, not three, not four, but five (5!) mascots to guide us through our Olympic journey. One for each continent! Each mascot represented a continent (or two, North & South America got merged into one mascot) and they all had their own unique specialties, personality traits and commemorative cup at McDonalds. Africa’s mascot (a giant panda named Jingjing) is easily the best, although the mascot comes across as vaguely racist in a way that I’m quite not sure how to unpack. Still, the mascots seem neato.
Torino 2006 - Neve & Gliz
Fun Fact: Neve & Gliz were Italy’s second choice for a mascot after a genetically modified Roberto Benigni broke out of the Italian Olympic Headquarters and terrorized the country in the early 00s. Neve & Gliz are a snowball and a ice cube with human-like properties. As you can see in this picture, Neve & Gliz were famous for roughhousing tourists and occasionally making unwanted sexual advances from behind.
Athens 2004 - Athena & Phevos
Fun Fact: Athena & Phevos were Greece’s second choice for a mascot after a genetically modified Nia Vardalos broke out of the Greek Olympic Headquarters and terrorized the country in the early 00s. HAHAHAHATHEYLOOKLIKEDONGSHAHAHAHAHA!!!
Salt Lake City 2002 - Powder, Copper & Coal
Remember when your mom would by you a generic brand of fruit snacks? You’d find characters that look like this on the label. Also, why does that bear have Hellboy hands?
Sydney 2000 - Olly, Syd & Millie
The guy that created Sydney’s obviously really wanted to fuck these animals. The way Millie’s drawn makes me incredibly uncomfortable. You can imagine the designer muttering disgusting things to himself while drawing her. “Yeah, let me run my fingers through your spikes and my bitch ex-wife is gonna feel it in her condo. Lemme suck on that snout.” Gross, mascot designer, gross.