Mexico 1968 Olympics The trend for Olympic mascots began back in 1968 with this unofficial icon for the Mexico City games, a dove of peace that represented the games’ slogan – “Los juegos de la Paz” (“Games of Peace”) – ironic given ‘The Night of Tlatelolco‘, a government massacre of student and civilian protesters and bystanders, took place just ten days before the games began….
Munich 1972 Olympics Based on a real life Dachshund named Cherie von Birkenhof, ‘Waldi’ – designed by creator of the Rotis font family, Otl Aicher – was the friendly face of Munich’s troubled 1972 games and the first official Olympic mascot. There were no black or red in the main scheme, a conscious decision by Aicher to exclude colours related to the Nazi Party
Montreal 1976 Olympics Fascinatingly minimalist, 1976′s mascot – Amik – looked more like a Spectrum ZX in this image (the standard icon featured just one, red stripe) than a warm, friendly Olympic mascot. Symbolising ‘hard work’ and being native to Canada, the beaver was chosen as Montreal’s mascot – and in many ways, its simplistic form harked back four years to Otl Aicher’s Waldi.
Moscow 1980 Olympics Russia’s mascot for the 1980 Moscow games was, of course, a bear… Misha, also known as Mishka, was designed by Victor Chizhikov – an illustrator of over 100 children’s books – and, having been used extensively throughout the games, was the first mascot of a sporting event to achieve large-scale commercial success as merchandise, even finding his way to a Japanese anime cartoon…… Misha was the first Olympic mascot to have a girlfriend
Los Angeles 1984 Olympics ‘Sam the Olympic Eagle’ appeared as a mascot for L.A’s 1984 games and was a typically American affair – strong in national identity, being a bald eagle (the national bird) and sharing a name with Uncle Sam, the famous personification of the USA. Interestingly, Sam continued Misha’s evolution from graphical icon to a mascot with identity that could be used in multiple situations… Sam was designed by C. Robert Moore, an artist for Disney
Seoul 1988 Olympics With a standard now seemingly in place for the Olympic mascot – child friendly characters with a huge cross-medium approach to use and merchandising – designer Kim Hyun’s creation for the 1988 Seoul Olympics was ‘Hodori’, a friendly Siberian tiger who appeared in various forms around the city and can still be seen today. The name Hodori was chosen from thousands that were sent in by the Korean public
Barcelona 1992 Olympics A cubist interpretation of a Catalan Sheepdog inspired by Picasso – it had to be Barcelona… and Cobi, designed by artist Javier Mariscal, is so very akin to the Catalan capital’s unique style. Massively successful, both in popularity and commercially, Cobi was seen in advertisements for the likes of Coca-Cola and Danone and even appeared in his own TV show. Originally derided by the locals for bastardising Spanish icon, Picasso – Cobi, along with the game’s transformation of the city, was hailed as a hero by the end of the Olympics
Atlanta 1996 Olympics There’s not much can be said for poor Izzy, the mascot for Atlanta’s 1996 games…. it seemed as though Cobi’s ten steps forward had been ignored in favour of an indeterminable ‘thing’, that during his lifetime underwent a number of changes – slimming to appear more ‘athletic’, growing a nose and losing the stars in his eyes amongst them. If Izzy did have one lasting impression however, it would be that – just like our own Wenlock and Mandeville – you no longer had to be, well… ‘anything at all’ to be an Olympic mascot. Izzy was the first computer generated mascot, and even had his own computer game – ‘Izzy’s Quest for the Olympic Rings’
Sydney 2000 Olympics In 1997, as part of an official competition, Sydney-based graphic designer, Matthew Hatton, decided – like John Ryan, senior animation director of Atlanta-based design firm DESIGNefx, who designed the tragic ‘Izzy’ – to blatantly ignore the success of Cobi and, well, actually just ignore the last 20 years and follow Victor Chizhikov’s semi- realistic illustration style of Moscow’s Misha…. delivering the horribly uncomfortable trio of Olly, Syd and Millie – a kookaburra, platypus and echidna respectively. Sydney’s millennium games were widely hailed as the best of all time, whether these disturbing little creatures had anything to do with that is wildly unlikely
Athens 2004 Olympics Whilst we may have been singing the praises of Cobi, and indeed deriding the subsequent attempts for not following Mariscal’s lead – we wouldn’t have quite opted for a blatant rip off in the way that Greek designer Spyros Gogos appeared to do with Athena and Phevos for Greece’s last-minute 2004 games. Causing great controversy at the time for “savagely insulting” Classical Greek culture – they were loosely based upon an archaic Greek terra cotta daidala from the 7th century BC – siblings Athena and Phevos were as much offensive for their off-putting oafishness that made them look like Cobi’s ‘simple’ relatives….. Athena and Phevos were described on the official Beijing 2008 website as having “whacking feet, longish necks and puny heads” – factually this is correct, however maybe someone could have a word with Chinese, introducing them to the art of the ‘euphemism’……
Beijing 2008 Olympics The latest Olympic mascots are of course those from Beijing’s recent games – the Olympics that for us will always be remembered for Herzog & de Meuron’s spectacular ‘bird’s nest’ stadium. The Fuwa (literally meaning ‘good-luck dolls’), continued on from ‘Olly, Syd and Millie’ and ‘Athena and Phevos’ before them, in that they didn’t come alone – as previous Olympic mascots had done. The group of five – Beibei, Jingjing, Huanhuan, Yingying, and Nini – each had a rhyming two-syllable name, a traditional way of expressing affection for children in China.
London 2012 Olympics Born from drops of steel from London’s 2012 Olympic stadium, and their names are inspired by Much Wenlock in Shropshire and Stoke Mandeville in Buckinghamshire, two towns with Olympic history at their heart – ‘Much Wenlock Games’ predated the modern games, whilst Stoke Mandeville is the birthplace of the Paralympics, for whom ‘Mandeville’ is the new official mascot. Along with his friend ‘Wenlock’, the pair – designed by agency Iris – have already caused much discussion.
How many events will be a part of the 2012 Olympics?oThere are 302 events scheduled in 26 sports.
Which member of the royal family is supposed to compete in the 2012 Summer Olympics?oZara Philips is a member of the equestrian team.
Which of these sports will not appear at the 2012 games?o Cricket, Baseball, and Softball will be absent from the games.
How many nations have qualified to go to the summer games?o204 – Nations can also compete under the Olympic flag
What is the motto of the 2012 games?o Inspire a generation o One World – One Dream from last summer Olympics
What is the slogan used for all of the Olympic Games?o Swifter, Higher, Stronger - The Olympic slogan is the hendiatris Citius, Altius, Fortius, which is Latin for Swifter, Higher, Stronger.
Which Olympic event is going to take place atGreenwich Park during the 2012 Summer Olympics? o Equestrian
One of the summer 2012 swimming Olympicevents will be held outside. Where is it being held?o The Serpent - The Serpentine is a 28-acre lake in Hyde Park.
How did the Olympic flame arrive in England?o Airplane - The flame arrived on flight BA2012.
Which sport had to be granted a specialdispensation to allow it to be held in England?o Shooting - Some of the shooting events would be illegal under the current UK gun laws.
As part of the Olympic festivities, which movie has been re-mastered and will be shown in over 100 different cinemas?o Chariots of Fire - The movie has also been adapted to a play, which will open at Hampstead Theatre. o Released March 1981
Which country will be hosting the 2016 games? o Istanbul o Madrid o Tokyo will be the candidate host cities for 2020.