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7 Regrettable Olympic Mascots: What Were They Thinking? (Slideshow)

7 Regrettable Olympic Mascots: What Were They Thinking? (Slideshow)
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Apparently plush toys of Wenlock and Mandeville, the mascots for the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics, are already in the bargain bin at a steep discount. It†just isn’t so easy to warm up to Cyclopean beings who have been described as the progeny of†”a drunken one-night stand between a Teletubby and a Dalek.”

Harrison Mooney goes a bit further in the Guardian:

These phallic bugbears fitted out in foppish puffery are by far the worst mascots of any Olympics, and I say this while trying to suppress my memories of Atlanta’s amorphous blob Whatzit (later renamed Izzy), which ushered in the trend of using no creative effort whatsoever on mascot design. Britain has brought this trend to its logical conclusion.

Now, mascots are a mere accessory of the Olympic Games, a cheap merchandising tactic, and they’re almost always terrible. … Britain has somehow managed to take a relatively unimportant aspect of the Olympic Games and turn it into an unforgettable and indelible full-scale embarrassment. The release of these creatures on its own should have been enough to know Britain is unfit to host the Games.

Or as†Mark Sinclair,†deputy editor of London design magazine, Creative Review, told CNN,†the mascots are “kind of severe looking” and “missing a little bit of soul.”

Michael Mopurgo, author of War Horse, was brought in to create a story behind Wenlock and Mandeville. As this goes,†the pair were made from the last drops of steel from the last support girder made for the Olympic stadium and are named for Much Wenlock, a village whose 19th century Wenlock games were†an inspiration for the modern Olympics and†Stoke Mandeville, where there was a hospital that treated soldiers with spinal cord injuries.

Wenlock’s and Mandeville’s eyes are supposed to enable them to “record everything.” They also sport taxi lights and particular head-shapes to refer to the shape of the Olympic medals and a helmet. All very well, but all the thought the Iris agency (which designed the mascots) mustered has produced some things with limited (if any) appeal for the target audience, children.

Murray recalls that British literature has given us Paddington, Winnie and other beloved, cuddly, icons. Instead, the London Olympics has anthropomorphic “walking, talking shard[s] of metal” that, writes†Angus Hyland on Computer Arts,†”appear thoroughly dehumanised,” a real “shame considering the Olympics is supposed to represent the best in human endeavour and character.”

LOCOG, the private organization running the Olympics, was hoping to make†£70 million from merchandising these?

To put Wenlock and Mandeville into a bit of context, here are seven other curious, maybe cute and possibly creepy mascots.

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Photo by kavitakapoor

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158 comments

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5:34AM PDT on Aug 12, 2012

Haha this is amusing.

3:55AM PDT on Aug 10, 2012

YOU might not like them......or want to write an article about it because you have nothing to do....but many 1000 have bought them.....
so what matters is that THEY like it and thought they where fun...so WHO is smiling????

3:27AM PDT on Aug 10, 2012

Thinking??????

2:32PM PDT on Aug 9, 2012

lol!

3:08AM PDT on Aug 9, 2012

FYI, Stoke Mandeville isn't just a hospital that used to treat injured soldiers: it is one of the premier treatment centres for spinal injuries in the world and it was responsible for the effective founding of the Paralympics alongside the London 1948 Olympics.

As for the mascots, well they are a national embarrassment. Actually my kids still have their mascots from Vancouver 2010 and they were quite cute, but I am glad to say that I was blissfully unaware before today that there had ever been mascots before that.

Much worse than the mascots is the 2012 logo. Once you have seen it, you can never look at Lisa Simpson in the same way again. And they paid hundreds of thousands of pounds to come up with these designs!

11:32PM PDT on Aug 8, 2012

Haven't seen them before or any of the Olympics -----managed to avoid the whole shebang !!!!!

5:51PM PDT on Aug 8, 2012

Considering how nothing these things are, I think the Olympics should get rid of mascots altogether.

5:34PM PDT on Aug 8, 2012

Izzy ~A Sperm in sneakers.. LMAO!!

4:49PM PDT on Aug 8, 2012

I don't think it's really natural.

3:41PM PDT on Aug 8, 2012

What were they thinking??? They were not!

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