If they were handing out gold medals for the most bizarre Olympic mascots, the characters for the London 2012 games would wins hands down.
That is, if they had hands. Wenlock and Mandeville (catchy names) were apparently “created from “the last two drops of British steel used for the London 2012 Olympic Stadium.” More like an alcohol and substance fuelled creativeworkshopthinktank.
To me they look like the result of a frenzied sexual encounter between a secondhand Logie (a fugly Australian TV award) and a Teletubbie. And the blue one looks like it has an incontinence problem.
I’m no mascot designer, a job where you’re on a hiding to nothing (apart from the pay cheque), but at least previous Olympic mascots had some connection, however random, to their country and didn’t need a website to explain just what the hell they’re supposed to be.
These explanations usually contain the words “magical” and / or “mystical”.
Wenlock and Mandeville arrived to howls of protest in the UK, so it’s probably a good thing they only have one eye.
I know times have changed since Misha the bear (or was it a mouse?) from the 1980 summer games in Moscow, but at least you didn’t need a masters in graphic design to get Syd, Ollie and Millie from Sydney 2000, the Fuwa children from the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, and my favourite, Amik the beaver from the 1976 Montreal games – who looks a bit like one of those door sausages you use to keep the wind out.
Then you’ve had some other mascots that were very left of stadium – Izzy the something from the 1996 Atlanta games, and the rather phallic looking Phevos and Athena from Athens in 2004. Design is obviously in the (one) eye of the beholder.
Then again, maybe my design sense is flawed from being slightly traumatised by a mascot years ago. Actually it was a rather famous, rotund animal character from a popular TV kids show. I was in far north Queensland in Australia and they happened to be shooting a scene for the show as I wandered past. They had a break and the character took his head off, and the bloke inside exclaimed “How f*****n’ hot is it?!” and lit up a cigarette. Well it was rather warm.
Wenlock and Mandeville are getting plenty of media coverage, which is probably the idea, but will they become as loved as Sydney’s very own Fatso the wombat?
Wonder what he’s up to? Maybe we could lend him to them…
Words and image ©Steve Williams 2012
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