Don’t forget the characters: Mascots from recent olympic games

I’ll be honest – I don’t usually get thrown into the craziness of the Olympic games. A good reason why I feel disconnected with the games – I was unable to watch any portion of the 2010 Olympics while studying abroad in South Africa. I missed the opening ceremonies, the medals won, the tears, etc. I felt kind of disconnected with the world, as it seemed like it was all that everyone was talking about (except, of course, within South Africa) – but I was okay. I survived.

This time, in 2012, I find myself without cable – but with internet! – so I am once again half-involved with the craziness of a global sports event. However, I will admit a secret – I am interested in the games’ mascots.

It kind of started when in fall of 2008, my current work supervisor returned from visiting her family in China and had these little figures hanging around her office:

 

The focus of these five characters, based on the colors of the Olympics, were meant to be children and play friendly, as they encouraged moments of smiles and happiness (sounds cheesy, I know). The shapes were also created around famous shapes in Chinese culture – with HuanHuan (in red) symbolizing the Olympic flame. Additionally, when their names were put together, like pictured above, “Bei Jing Huan Ying Ni,” it meant in English “Welcome to Beijing.”

In 2010, there were the winter olympics in Canada – and their controversial mascots. Pictured below are three of the five mascots created for those games. Sumi, on the left, embodied an animal spirit with the center figure as you guessed it (or maybe you couldn’t!) Quatchi, the Sasquatch (a fabled character that lives in the woods). The other character pictured here is Miga, who is part sea-bear and part orca-whale.

 

 

Ready for the “BIG” moment, where you meet the 2012 Olympic mascots for London? Here you go – Wenlock and Mandeville.

Okay, they too might be a bit cheesy but some of the photos they have with these characters are rather cute, such as them stretching or practicing various moves done by real Olympians.

The point is, mascots of the Olympic games are often cheesy – but they are also cute ways of trying to get more people interested and involved in the action and festivities occurring. They are also created as a way to further entice people about learning about the culture and country that the Olympic games are held within.

To get more information on the 2008 Olympic mascots, go here: http://en.beijing2008.cn/spirit/beijing2008/graphic/n214068254.shtml

Or to find some information on the 2010 Olympic mascots, you could try this link (It actually is hard to find information about them): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miga,_Quatchi,_Sumi_and_Mukmuk

To check out some of those photos I mentioned of Wenlock and Mandeville, check out this great article done by DailyMail at: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1279736/London-2012-Olympic-mascots-Meet-Wenlock-Mandeville.html

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