THE Wednesday just gone (May 19) I finally got to see the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic mascots.Our Olympic mascot is called Wenlock after the Shropshire town of Much Wenlock, which held the forerunner to the games we love today. It was from watching these games in 1890 that Pierre de Coubertin was inspired to create the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
Our Paralympic mascot is called Mandeville after the Buckinghamshire village Stoke Mandeville. The village is famous for holding the forerunner to today’s Paralympics.
I think you’ll agree that the names are spot on.
They have a camera for an eye and taxi style headlights. Wenlock has friendship bracelets in the colour of the Olympic rings (that’s what to look for if you have trouble telling them apart) and Mandeville has a pink stopwatch, symbolising that you can always do better.
The pair originated from a Bolton steelworks that was helping to build the stadium.
But not everybody is a fan of the duo and they are perfectly entitled to their opinion. But let me tell you why I am holding a torch for them (no pun intended).
Firstly, nobody has ever had mascots quite like Wenlock and Mandeville before. A vast majority of the previous Olympic and Paralympic mascots have been 2D animals. We could quite easily have had a Bulldog and or a Lion, but Bulldogs aren’t cute and England has already used a Lion in World Cup Willie (1966 World Cup).
Secondly, they are supposed to be aimed at young kids. The whole idea of our games is to leave a lasting impression on the country, and the only way to do this is to please the young kids.
Lastly, I love the design of the two. It shows that their designers were thinking outside the box.
These mascots will always be remembered, hopefully as the first of a new generation of mascot design for all future sporting events for decades to come.