Olympic Games Mascots
The first mascot in Olympic history made its appearance at the 1968 Winter Olympics in Grenoble, France, though it was not an official mascot. Also in Mexico 1968 there were unofficial dove and jaguar mascots. The idea of an Olympic mascot was officially approved at the 73rd Session of the International Olympic Committee in Munich 1972. Therefore the first official Olympic mascot was Waldi the dachshund at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games.
Since then, mascots have become a major element of the Olympic brand. Mascots act as a vehicle for communicating the Olympic spirit to the general public, especially children and youth. They have come in many shapes and sizes, though they all convey the theme of the Olympic Games, and showcase the distinctive geographical features, history and culture of the host city.
Up until 1992, most Olympic mascots were created based on an animal unique to the host country. Since then, human or invented figures have been used, and often more than one mascot - the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympic Games had four mascots; the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games had three and the 2004 Athens Olympic Games had two, and Beijing had five! London has gone back to one, but one for each of the Olympic Games and Paralympics.
List of Olympic Games Mascots (Summer Games)
|2016 Rio||Vinicius (Olympic Games) and Tom (Paralympic Games)||Vinicius is a bright yellow and cat-like Olympic mascot, meant to represent a mix of all Brazilian animals. He was named after the poet and bossa nova composer Vinicius de Moraes. There is also a separate green leaf-haired Paralympic mascot called Tom, representing all of Brazil's plant species (see more about 2016 Mascots)|
|2012 London||Wenlock (Olympic Games) and Mandeville (Paralympics)||These two playful cartoon animations were said to be created from the last drops of steel left over from the construction of the final support girder for the London Olympic Stadium. Their names derive from the 'Wenlock Games' and the 'Stoke Mandeville Games', early British inspirations for the current Olympics and Paralympics. The design includes a single eye which is a camera, and yellow lights on their heads like London's black taxis. (more about 2012 Mascots)|
|2008 Beijing||Beibei, Jingjing, Huanhuan, Yingying and Nini||There are five Olympic Mascots for Beijing 2008: Beibei (blue Fish), Jingjing (black Panda), Huanhuan (red Flame), Yingying (yellow Antelope) and Nini (green Swallow). Their five names together – "Bei Jing Huan Ying Ni" – translates as ‘Welcome to Beijing’. (more about 2008 Mascots)|
|2004 Athens||Athena and Phevos||The two mascots for the Athens Olympics are based on thousands of years old dolls found at archeological sites in Greece. They are called Athena and Phevos, and have whacking feet, longish necks and puny heads. One is colored deep yellow, the other in deep blue. They are named after two gods from Greek mythology: Phevos, the god of light and music, and Athena, goddess of wisdom and patron of the city of Athens.|
|2000 Sydney||Syd, Olly and Millie||The three mascots from the Sydney Olympic Games are based on native Australian animals. Their names are short for Olympic, Sydney and Millennium. "Olly", a kookaburra, epitomizes the Olympic spirit of generosity and universal generosity.; "Syd", a platypus, represents the environment and captures the vigor and energy of Australia and its people.; "Millie", an echidna, is a techno-whiz and information guru, with all the facts and figures at her fingertips.|
|1996 Atlanta||Izzy||The mascot of the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta was an abstract fantasy figure. It was given the name Izzy, derived from "What is it?" because no one seemed to know exactly what it really was.|
|1992 Barcelona||Cobi||The mascot for the Barcelona Games was a dog, which had its own specially produced TV series.|
|1988 Seoul||Hodori||The Seoul Olympics mascot was a little friendly tiger, which portrays the friendly and hospitable traditions of the Koreans. The name comes from 'Ho', which is derived from the Korean word for tiger, and 'Dori', which is a diminutive for boys in Korea. The mascot wore the Olympic Rings around its neck, much like a medal, with a traditional Korean dance hat on its head.|
|1984 Los Angeles||Sam the Eagle||The mascot for the LA Olympics was designed by Walt Disney. The Eagle wore the outfit of the legendary American Uncle Sam, with a star-spangled background in red, white and blue.|
|1980 Moscow||Misha||The Moscow Olympic mascot was a bear called Misha. This mascot was developed by Victor Chizikov, a renowned illustrator of children's books. The Misha mascot became very popular around the world.|
|1976 Montreal||Amik||The Montreal mascot was a beaver called Amik. The name Amik means beaver in the Algonquian language, the most popular language amongst the American Indians in Canada.|
|1972 Munich||Waldi||The Munich mascot was a dachshund, which represented qualities which are indispensable to an athlete: resistance, tenacity and agility. This was the first official Olympic Games mascot.|
|1968 Mexico||El Jaguar Rojo de Chichen-Itza (Red Jaguar) & Paloma de la Paz (dove)||There were unofficial dove and jaguar mascots. The Jaguar mascot was based on a throne in the shape of a red jaguar in the "El Castillo" pyramid at Chichen Itzá. The stylized white dove represented the slogan of the games, "Los juegos de la Paz" or "Games of the Peace".|