Just forget the words and sing along

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Your Vancouver Olympic Mascots!

One of the days that all of Canada has been awaiting for has finally arrived. They've announced the mascots for the 2010 Winter Olympics!

We've come a long way from when the organizers of the 1972 Munich games thought that adopting a weiner dog as the mascot would be cute. The Olympic mascots now form the crux of the Olympic marketing campaign towards children. But you know, when I think of the Olympic mascots, I can't help but think of the Snowlets, the owls who were mascots for the 1998 Nagano Games. When I was at the Olympic museum in Nagano, they had the mascot costume on display. And I actually saw this one kid reach over the velvet ropes and punch the mascots.

The process to choose the mascots for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics took 14 months, in which they took proposals from design houses the world over. Finally, they chose a little Vancouver design studio called Meomi Design. It was long rumored that the mascot would be an innukshuk, riffing on the games' logo. That's not what it turned out to be, but it's still something that draws on First Nations folklore. The three mascots and their sidekick were unveiled today in a lavish ceremony in Vancouver, in front of 800 schoolchildren

And now, ladies and gentlemen, I give you the mascots for the the 2010 Winter Olympics!


The First Nations of the west coast tell tales of orcas that could assume the form of a bear when on land. And from that, we get Miga. Miga is a "sea bear," part killer whale, part bear...she's an orca in the ocean and a bear on land. Friendly, boisterous, and outgoing, her favourite winter sport is snowboarding.


Quachi is a sasquatch...a bigfoot...that mythical ape that roams the woods of the Pacific Northwest. Quachi is the shy, quiet type...after all, he spends most of his days hiding in the woods. His favourite winter sport is hockey, and he dreams of being the world's greatest goalie.

Said one co-worker today, "Why does as a sasquatch need boots and earmuffs?" My reply, "Because his feet and ears are cold."

If you're going to split hairs, then Sumi here is actually the mascot for the Paralympic Games, happening a few weeks after the Winter Olympics. But, since Vancouver is elevating the Paralympic Games to the same level as the Olympics, Sumi is getting equal treatment. Drawing from the transformation myths rampant in Native folklore, Sumi "wears the hat of the orca, flies on the wings of the Thunderbird, and runs on the legs of a black bear." She likes to ski.


And this li'l guy is Mukmuk. He's not an official Olympic mascot...but rather, he's their sidekick. He'll be popping up along side the mascots from time to time. The only real animal in the bunch, he's a Vancouver Island Marmot.

The kids seem to be taken with them...Miga is a front-runner for the kids favourites. And, of course, they're not without their complaints...some are already complaining that they look too much like Pokemon, and that they require too much exposition. Either way, they're going to be with us for the next three years, and then on display for all your punching needs in a museum.

Here's the official website of the mascots

Hidy and Howdy

And, in an interesting footnote, today, the City of Calgary officially retired Hidy and Howdy, the mascots for the 1988 Winter Olympics. Heidi and Howdy have adorned the "Welcome to Calgary" signs for the past 20 years, and Calgary has decided to retire those signs and replace them with something newer.

Here's the complete article in the Calgary Herald

Olympic Mascot Fast Facts

- The first Olympic mascot was Waldi the Dashund, mascot for the 1972 Munich games. the first unofficial mascot was Schuss, a cartoon skier, and mascot for the 1968 Grenoble Winter Games.

- The first mascot to be a full part of the games and heavily merchandised was Misha the Bear, mascot for the 1980 Moscow Games. Misha was an intergral part of the opening and closing ceremonies, and even had his own cartoon.

- The 1988 Calgary Olympics was the first Olympics to have more than one mascot: Hidy and Howdy, twin polar bears in cowboy outfits.

- The record for the most mascots is next year's 2008 Beijing Games. They've got 5 mascots.

- It's generally agreed the most unpopular mascot was Izzy, mascot for the 1996 Atlanta Games. Izzy was an abstract creation, and as such, his design was constantly being re-designed. There was a roller coaster named after him at the Busch Gardens theme park, but the name was changed before 1996 was done. However, Izzy did star in his own video game and animated special!

- The 2000 Sydney games' mascots were actually upstaged by an unofficial mascot. An Australian sketch comedy show created their own mascot for the 2000 games, called "Fatso the Fat-Arsed Wombat." Fatso grew more popular than the official mascots...there's a statue of Fatso in Sydney's official Olympic memorial park, but no mention of the real mascots.

- Despite what that Simpson episode said, the mascot for the 1976 Montreal Games was a beaver, not a vampire.

No comments: