‘ Schuss’ the skier (an unofficial mascot) made his appearance at the Grenoble 1968 Winter Games. He is widely considered the ‘father’ of all Olympic mascots.
But what is a mascot?
In Olympic Games tradition, a mascot is a person, animal or item that represents good luck. Mascots usually reflect the nature or culture of a host region or country. The three mascots for the Sydney 2000 Summer Games, for example, ‘Syd’ (the platypus), ‘Millie’ (the echidna) and ‘Olly’ (the kookaburra), reflected fauna indigenous to Australia. Representing air, water and earth, they were named respectively after the Host City, the new millennium and the Olympic Games.
“ Waldi " , the first official mascot to appear for the 1972 Munich Games
Winter Olympic Games 1976 - Innsbruck
This snowman symbolizes the " Games of Simplicity”.
1976 - Montreal - Amik
1980 – Moscow - Misha
1980 - Lake Placid - Roni
1984 – Los Angeles - Sam
1984 – Sarajevo - Vuchko
" Vuchko " , the tough and courageous wolf . This wolf has both a serious and a cheerful side, but is happy rather than serious .
1988 – Seoul - Hodori
“ Howdy and Hidy ” are an inseparable brother and sister pair of polar bears. "Hidy" is an extension of "hi", while "Howdy“ is the American western slang for "hello".
1992 – Barcelona - Cobi
1992 – Albertville - Magique
Half man-half star. "Magique" plays with the concept of dream and imagination through its star-like shape.
1994 - Lillehammer
Haakon and Kristin are two small Norwegian children in traditional costumes.
1996 – Atlanta - Izzy
1998 - Nagano
The Snowlets: Sukki, Nokki, Lekki and Tsukki are four owls; a bird who has long represented "the wisdom of the woods" in many countries.
2002 – Salt Lake
The Salt Lake 2002 mascots aim to reflect the Olympic motto " Citius, Altius Fortius " ( Faster, Higher, Stronger ).
2004 – Athens
2006 – Turin – Neve & Gliz
" Neve ": she is a gentle, kind and elegant snowball; " Gliz ": he is a lively, playful ice cube .
2008 - Beijing
Beibei is the Fish, Jingjing is the Panda, Huanhuan is the Olympic Flame, Yingying is the Tibetan Antelope and Nini is the Swallow.
When you put their names together - Bei Jing Huan Ying Ni – you get the greeting : “ Welcome to Beijing “, that reflects the mission of Fuwa as young ambassadors for the Olympic Games.
Apr-08 Credit for some of the photos and the information: IOC