Dachshunds, Eagles, and Bears- Oh My!

If you have seen any Olympic memorabilia, Olympic event, or basically Olympic anything since the 1960s, it has probably included images of an Olympic mascot. In lieu of a lengthy text explaining the history of Olympic mascots, I think this video serves as an excellent descriptor...

Mascots can be a fun way to reflect the theme of each city and Olympic Games. I love this infographic showing the evolution of Olympic mascots since the 1968 Games in Grenoble:

Each mascot represents local artists from that country. I think my favorite of the earlier mascots is Waldi, from the Munich 1972 Games.

Perhaps the reason I prefer the earlier mascots is that they are more similar to actual animals. When I first saw the Olympic mascots for the London Games I was very confused about what they were meant to represent. More and more of the recent designs are abstract and/or meant to represent multiple animals or concepts.

The mascots not included in the above infographic are the Rio 2016 mascots. The yellow mascot on the left is for the Olympics, and the green mascot is for the Paralympics. 

What I love about these mascots is that they are named after famous Brazilians (descriptions above) and they, as many mascots do, try to encompass the spirit of their home country. Vinicius' profile indicates that he is a mix of many native Brazilian animals and plays all Olympic sports. The mascots even have their own cartoon:

Though Olympic mascots are not the most compelling component of the Games, they are an opportunity for Olympic committees to be creative and integrate local designers in the Olympic experience. However, there can sometimes be a political hue, like the Russian president's displeasure with the voting results of the Sochi mascots. Some could also put forth the critique that mascots exist for the purpose of merchandising alone. I certainly would never buy into any of that- though if someone were to buy a Waldi plush for me I'm sure I would not protest... 

I look forward to future mascots that integrate the interests of the public (through voting or design competitions) and the unique identity of each Olympic Games. 

Until next time!

Cartoon from the Cagle Post: http://www.cagle.com/news/olympics/


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