The weirdest Olympic mascots ever chosen
21 May 2012
The 2012 Olympic mascots, Wenlock and Mandeville, have their detractors. The odd-shaped creatures are supposed to represent drops of molten British steel and are named after Much Wenlock (which had an Olympic Games before Pierre de Coubertin poked his nose into it) and Mandeville for the Stoke Mandeville Games which inspired the Paralympics. They only have one eye each and they wear the kind of tight outfits that even former Olympian Linford Christie might think twice about putting on.
As odd as they seem, they are not the weirdest of their type. From humble beginnings as cute bears or other cuddly animals, Olympic mascots have morphed into strange creatures:
Athena and Phevos – Athens 2004
A brother and sister who had bodies shaped like chunks from a Toblerone and possessed rather huge feet. Their hands were the same colour as their shirts and their necks and heads are shaped a bit like a ship's funnel. It may be Greek art, based on sculptures by Daedalus, but they still look bizarre.
The Fuwa – Beijing 2008
The Beijing Games were impressive: the stadium was magnificent, the ceremonies were outstanding but the mascots were peculiar. There were five mascots, one of them is obviously a panda but the other four look like the designer lost interest in them. One of them represents the Olympic torch but frankly looks like his hair is on fire, poor thing.
Izzy – Atlanta 1996
Izzy is the blue blob with yellow lightning flashes for eyebrows, an incredibly huge mouth, massive eyes and a ridiculously tiny red nose. Apparently he is meant to look athletic but in reality he looks like he has just choked on his third double Whopper burger.
A special mention goes to Neve and Gliz from the 2006 Turin Winter Olympics, imaginatively (not!) made to look like human beings apart from the fact that one of them has a huge snowball for a head and the other has a huge ice cube.
Maybe Wenlock and Mandeville aren't so bad after all…
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