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Which is the worst Olympic mascot?

By Jodi Westrick  |  May 20, 2010; 3:52 PM ET  | Category:  National Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Why do we need mascots?? Groupthink at its finest.

Posted by: ekorea | May 21, 2010 12:34 AM

It is a very, very tight race. Every mascot here deserves to be a winner.

Posted by: teplicky101 | May 21, 2010 1:24 AM

Definitely the Cyclops couple. I can see how they might actually frighten small children.

Posted by: ccqueen | May 21, 2010 2:34 AM

Agreed Teplicky. There's some prime weirdness to choose from here, but the British entry is definitely the creepiest yet IMO.
To CCQUEEN: "Small chilren"? I don't care much for the idea of watching their antics, myself. :(

Posted by: beowulf3 | May 21, 2010 3:23 AM

Ok, on the opposite spectrum --- The best mascot ever was Berlino the Bear from the 2009 World Championships in Athletics. Everybody fell in love with his antics, especially with Usain Bolt.

Posted by: deltaterp | May 21, 2010 4:42 AM

As a proud brit, I can definitely state proudly that our mascots are the worst ever. To me they look like deranged, mutant crayfish. My son, who is slap bang in the middle of the target group of kids supposed to like these things, says they are dumb! They are definitely the worst ever.

Posted by: hertsred | May 21, 2010 6:21 AM

Cyclops? It looks like a big toe!

Posted by: OccupiedTerritory | May 21, 2010 7:19 AM

"Cyclops? It looks like a big toe!"

Looks like London is unleashing 2 one-eyed monsters!

Hah!

:)

Posted by: rmcazz | May 21, 2010 8:03 AM

The San Diego Chicken was the best. But that was not the Olympics...

Posted by: ARHinVA | May 21, 2010 8:55 AM

I like a lot of the odder mascots actually. I feel that a lot of younger (Gen X and younger) people, like in my generation, are more open to mascots that arent simple ordinary everyday anthro-animal characters.

Many recent cartoons that younger generations watch now bend reality and have created creatures beyond the normal animals of this world. A lot of foreign animation (Japanese and French mostly) is responsible for this change, which would have a big effect on why I feel younger people would be more accepting of the unique mascots over the older generations.

Posted by: Raxion | May 21, 2010 9:08 AM

Yeah, this is a concept that has jumped the shark. I suppose toy makers go through hundreds of concepts a year to find one that appeals to kids. I'm guessing these Olympic teams get together create one and call it a day.

I'm a grown-up, so this may not be aimed at me anyway, but I'm pretty sure I did not think once about the mascot during any of the games save when it may have been shown on tv which was not too often. This is all marketing anyway, nothing about the "Olympic Spirit" (cough, giggle)

And oh yes, they are bland and downright disturbing. (which I guess isn't bland then, eh?) Are they paying royalties to the movie "Monsters" ?

Posted by: jhtlag1 | May 21, 2010 9:10 AM

There are a lot of lame mascots out there (the racing sausages at Milwaukee Brewer stadium come to mind) but even lame mascots can boast a certain charm. I felt that way about the Chinese Fuwa as well as Heidy and Howdy (a pair of polar bear mascots for the 1988 Calgary games). But Wenlock and Mandeville are just too far out there in terms of design to be used in the same sentence with the word "charm." Neve and Gliz at least look like they were designed by a child; W and M look like they were designed by a committee.

Posted by: drazen1 | May 21, 2010 9:31 AM

Izzy is the worst, since in 1996 it opened the floodgates for a whole wave of abstract mascots.

Successful mascots often were patterned after wildlife endemic to the country hosting the Olympics, a nice touch because this subtly raised a bit of environmental awareness in the process.

But in the southern United States, where state rights are all the rage, the Atlanta committee in charge must have first rejected the idea of using an opossum (a la Pogo) or an alligator, and then, without any other notable endemic wildlife to select from, in despair threw their hands in the air and said, "Let's make a wuddevuhdafug instead!"

At that time, Izzy was decried by many as the worst mascot ever. Nonetheless, he opened the floodgates for the majority of designs cited above. Izzy is yet another example of the very worst sort of idea infecting a society. I never thought I'd see the day when there would be multiple worse-than-Izzy mascots to consider.

Posted by: kingpigeon | May 21, 2010 9:44 AM

where did they get these costumes ?!?!? Looks like from a warehouse for American International pictures, that were used in one of those black and white sci-fi "B" movies, circa 1958.

Posted by: joelcavicchia | May 21, 2010 9:49 AM

Hahaha, I will agree with Drazen1! Even though I kinda like them, Wenlock and Mandeville are pretty strange.

For anyone that might get the reference; they look like gene-spliced Pokémon. Blends of Palkia and Dialga, eached crossed with Beldum. :P

Posted by: Raxion | May 21, 2010 9:50 AM

The London Mascot's faces subliminally refer to televisions, to entice people to watch, which is of course the point of the olympics.In front of the rainbow background, they look designed to bring all of Jerry Falwell's "Tinky Winky" teletubby fears to life. Hmm - Television and Gay culture - did Hank Steuver design them?

Posted by: David90 | May 21, 2010 9:57 AM

Wenlock looks angry and Mandeville looks frightened of making Wenlock even angrier.

Posted by: biograph1985 | May 21, 2010 10:25 AM

Does the term "one-eyed monster" mean the same thing in England that it does in the USA?

Posted by: carbonpenguin | May 21, 2010 10:33 AM

Thanks for the laugh!
Neve and Gliz look like Gumby had kids with Frosty the Snowman.
Izzy appears to be the offspring of the Joker and the Tasmanian Devil.
Huanhuan looks like either a demon, or a cute little Chinese girl being immolated.
Wenlock and Mandeville are Gumby's nefarious alien progenitors.
Athena and Phevos...is one of them supposed to be male? Cause they're both wearing pregger dresses and have major eclampsia. Not to mention a hideous mole on their chins.

Posted by: dmm1 | May 21, 2010 10:37 AM

@EKOREA:

Because the merchandise is the juiciest plum of all.

Posted by: ah___ | May 21, 2010 10:41 AM

Why can't the mascots be something to which the people can relate? I can easily think of several mascots who would be more popular:

Trojan Man
Douchey the Bag
SOL, the empty toilet paper roll
Vomitus, the drunk's best friend
Syringe, the athlete's little helper
Cash Wad, the Olympic Organizing Committee's best friend

Posted by: sasquatchbigfoot | May 21, 2010 10:55 AM

First the horrendous Olympic logo and now this. Who has London retained to do their graphic design? Laurel and Hardy?

Posted by: anon99 | May 21, 2010 11:07 AM

They are all hideous. The decline of mascot aesthetics is in parallel with that of cartoon drawing.

Posted by: Maura3 | May 21, 2010 11:10 AM

Mandeville appears to have wet himself with some sort of smurf-inspired liquid.

Posted by: greasycat | May 21, 2010 11:17 AM

Izzy, without a doubt. Those creepy diaphragms on top of eyeballs! Who on earth thought that was a good idea?

Posted by: gasmonkey | May 21, 2010 11:19 AM

Out of all the odd mascots posted here:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/gallery/2010/05/20/GA2010052003298.html

I must applaud a few. Cobi (1992 Barcelona; p.5), The Snowlets (1998 Nagano; p.9), and Miga Quatchi and Sumi(2010 Vancouver; p.13) are all mascots that have a cute and alluring style without going too bizzare.

Posted by: Raxion | May 21, 2010 11:27 AM

I can only assume that Wenlock and Mandeville (London 2012) were designed to encourage more participation from the hardest to reach demographic of incontinent cyclopes.

Posted by: TonyH1 | May 21, 2010 11:35 AM

I actually liked the Chinese mascots representing the five elements: earth, wind, fire, water, and (of course) panda.

Izzy has to be the worst in my opinion. At least London's two little monsters look like something.

Posted by: JackGallant | May 21, 2010 11:39 AM

They should use them as targets for the rifle shooting portion of the biatholon...

Posted by: jahoby | May 21, 2010 11:45 AM

Sorry, but I believe the London guys may have filled their diapers..... one eyed monsters who need changing..... gross on so many fronts. But nice for sharing with your little nieces and nephews!

Posted by: bdean1 | May 21, 2010 11:46 AM

This has Yo Gabba Gabba written all over it...

Posted by: atb2 | May 21, 2010 11:56 AM

I want to say the new London Mascots, but you know, there is a story and logic behind them. It's weird, but it's there, and it has to do with England's Olympic heritage.

Izzy was nothing more than a blatant cartoon character.

Posted by: Chasmosaur1 | May 21, 2010 12:27 PM

Mandeville looks like he may have soiled himself...

Posted by: cjbass55 | May 21, 2010 12:31 PM

I live in Atlanta, and have since late 1992. They premiered Izzy by handing out buttons that said "Whatizit?" at the closing ceremonies in Barcelona.

Eighteen years later we still don't know.

The Atlanta Paralympics mascot was Blaze the Phoenix, which was much much better. The phoenix is also the symbol of Atlanta, which rose from the ashes after the Civil War. I believe you can still buy state-issued license plates featuring Blaze - the fees support athletics for the disabled.

(Whenever I hear "Mandeville" I think of "A Confederacy of Dunces" and how Ignatius Reilly didn't want to be involuntarily committed there...)

Posted by: mapleleaves1 | May 21, 2010 12:41 PM

They look like Doctor Who aliens who are trying to destroy the Olympics. Hopefully, the TARDIS will arrive quickly enough to save us!

Posted by: AxelDC | May 21, 2010 1:23 PM

Hate to say it, but Misha, the 1980 Moscow Olympic bear, has to be the best mascot ever.

I'll bet not many Americans have souvenirs from that year!

Posted by: AxelDC | May 21, 2010 1:26 PM

Political correctness means that a mascot must be so stupid and unrecognizable that no one could possibly take offense.

Posted by: greg3 | May 21, 2010 1:38 PM

Athena and Phevos look pretty cool, so does Huanhuan. Izzy iz atrocious, and those parking meters with arms, Wenlock and Mandeville? Why do they accentuate Mandeville's crotch so much?

Posted by: hitpoints | May 21, 2010 1:50 PM

I recall Izzy being nicknamed "sperm in sneakers."

Then again, the Salt Lake City- and Atlanta-hosted Olympics were among the least sophisticated ever executed. Just once, I'd like to see Americans show the world they have a capacity for taste and class.

...

A guy can dream?

Posted by: brickerd | May 21, 2010 1:56 PM

@AXELDC

Heh. They should have just used the TARDIS and been done with it ;)

Posted by: Chasmosaur1 | May 21, 2010 2:14 PM

Come on people...nobody has found a way to link the scourge of bad Olympic mascots to Obama and his socialist agenda? Maybe the guy who blamed bad mascots on political correctness should take a whack at it.

Posted by: wylieshipman | May 21, 2010 2:16 PM

Shouldn't the Athens mascots have been nude?

Posted by: blahblah6b | May 21, 2010 2:24 PM

Hate to say it, but Misha, the 1980 Moscow Olympic bear, has to be the best mascot ever. I'll bet not many Americans have souvenirs from that year.
----------
@axeldc: I do. I have two pins, one of Misha playing water polo, and another of a male water polo player with the caption "MOCKBA '80" on it, which I actually bought in Tallinn, Estonia. I have an advanced degree in Russian, and dated a fellow graduate student who played water polo in college, so these hold a special sentiment for me.
---------
Why do we need mascots?? Groupthink at its finest.
--------
Totally agree, ekorea1. Same mind numbness that causes people to think we need a logo and a slogan for everything, even stuff like war reportage that doesn't need a logo. Also the same mind numbness that causes network TV news producers to assume we need an pictorial slide to the side of every talking head. Some of us don't need pictures to follow a news story.

Posted by: bucinka8 | May 21, 2010 2:36 PM

I like Izzy. Though with all the security cameras London has, the "eye on you" theme is kinda a political statement.

Posted by: DuaneNoVA | May 21, 2010 2:47 PM

The expense associated with developing a mascot (in this case, it appears as though a pair of mascots is usually the norm) must be fairly significant: graphic designers, draftspeople, costume designers, PR folks, countles teleconferences, webmeetings, PowerPoints, project managers, etc, etc. And...for what benefit?

Posted by: Auslander1 | May 21, 2010 3:39 PM

Wenlock and Mandeville look kinda like a slimmed-down Teletubbies cyclops. ...And what's with the rainbow behind them? Sorta gay, isn't it?

Posted by: Auslander1 | May 21, 2010 3:43 PM

Wenlock and Mandeville. What the hell are those? Their heads -- heads? maybe? OK, the top part of Wenlock and Mandeville -- vaguely remind me of the ear piece of a phone from the early 1970s. Wenlock seems to be spurting orange blood. And Mandeville may have just peed a blueberry slushy. The wonderful aspect of bad ideas is not that someone had a bad idea, but rather that someone took the bad idea to another person who said "good idea!" By the way, Drazen1 you're just completely wrong about the racing sausages at Miller Park, but then I suspect didn't know there is a right and wrong on this. ;-)

Posted by: mlsc | May 21, 2010 6:04 PM

my vote for the worst goes to izzy. that is just not a toy i would purchase, nevermind allow to approach my family/me at the olympics. mouth...shut it.

all the others look like wild fun.

Posted by: choqokat | May 21, 2010 8:06 PM

drazen1: The racing sausages at Miller Park are not mascots. Bernie Brewer is the Brewers' mascot. The sausages are a 7th inning promo that is sponsored by Klements, the official supplier of tubular meats at Miller Park.

Posted by: dgloo | May 21, 2010 8:12 PM

They're all pretty silly, aren't they. How about something with proven traction, like Freddy Kruger, or Alf?

Posted by: jnardo | May 21, 2010 9:35 PM

When Izzy was introduced, he was privately known around USOC headquarters as "Bubba the Blue Slug." Did you know that the organizers built a whole mythology around Izzy? He lived in the Olympic Flame, he wanted to qualify for the Games, blah blah blah.

I think LA 1984's "Sam the Eagle" was one of the best.

Posted by: swmuva | May 21, 2010 9:43 PM

They are all dreck. But to that end they all symbolize the modern Olympic Movement. Perfectly.

Posted by: jrw1 | May 22, 2010 9:36 AM

There is no need for any mascots all they are is a money grabbing exercise to dupe individuals of their money for something to be thrown away when all the hype of the games are over.The games have become to extravegent at a huge cost to the taxpayer, all you need do is ask the Greeks.

Posted by: judyterry | May 23, 2010 6:31 AM

These mascots are just cuddly little ways for the marketers to get into our wallets by way of our children.

BTW, wasn't Pedobear mistaken for being an Olympic mascot in Vancouver last winter? Hilarious!

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/7187027/Polish-newspaper-claims-Pedobear-is-2010-Vancouver-Olympic-mascot.html

Posted by: gce1356 | May 23, 2010 12:47 PM

@drazen1:


"There are a lot of lame mascots out there (the racing sausages at Milwaukee Brewer stadium come to mind)"

Are you kidding me??? The sausage race at the Brewers game is great and people love it. You need to lighten up!

Posted by: CCCinNaptown | May 23, 2010 5:06 PM

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