Olympic Mascots: The Cute and the Weird

Take a look at the best and the worst Summer and Winter Games mascots through the years.

19 photos
1/19
The International Olympic Committee announced that three mascots: a squeaky-voiced figure-skating bunny rabbit, a snowboarding snow leopard, and an earnest, slightly dorky polar bear, would represent the 2014 Sochi Olympic Winter Games. They were voted by the Russian people.
2/19
Getty Images for LOCOG
One of the most odd creatures of the Olympic mascot family, Wenlock and Mandeville represented the London 2012 Summer Games. Endowed with a camera lens instead of facial features, the mascots were given a back story that tells how they were fashioned from droplets of steel left over from the construction of the Olympic Stadium, according to Time magazine.
3/19
AFP/Getty Images
Inspired by the legends of British Columbia, Miga, Sumi, Mukmuk and Quatchi were the official mascots for the Vancouver Olympic Winter Games. They were the work of Vicky Wong and Michael Murphy, according to Olympic.org.
4/19
AFP/Getty Images
Each of the five "Fuwa" characters created for the 2008 Beijing Summer Games, represented a character in the Chinese language that together spell out “Beijing welcomes you,” according to Time. They were designed by famous Chinese artist Han Meilin and promoted with a 100-episode television series.
5/19
AP
Neve and Gliz were the official mascots of the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy. Representing snow and ice respectively, they were described as “the spirit of the Italian Olympic event: passion, enthusiasm, culture, elegance, and love of the environment and of sport," according to Time.
6/19
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The source of inspiration for the Athens 2004 Olympic Summer Games mascots Athena and Phevos, was an ancient Greek doll from the 7th century BC, according to the Olympic Museum. In ancient times, these dolls were known as "daidala". Their names were inspired by two Olympian Gods: Athena, goddess of wisdom and patron of the city of Athens. and Phevos, the Olympian god of light and music, known as Apollo.
7/19
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Copper, Powder and Coal were the mascots for the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, Utah. The characters represent the coyote, snowshoe hare and the American black bear respectively, all native to Utah, according to the Sochi website.
8/19
AFP/Getty Images
EMPTY_CAPTION"Syd" the platypus (L), "Millie" the euchidna (2nd R) and "Ollie" the kookaburra (R) the Sydney 2000 Summer Games mascots, may count among the most adorable Olympic mascots. The animals were chosen to represent the wildlife of Australia, according to BBC News.
9/19
ASSOCIATED PRESS
In 1998, four owls represented the XVIII Winter Olympics at Minami Nagano Sports Park in Nagano, Japan. Each owl was made to represent one of the four major islands of Japan. Their dolls were pretty popular, , according to The Washington Post.
10/19
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The 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympic Games mascot, "Whatizit?" was able to morph into different shapes. The mascot broke from tradition, lacking defined human or animal features, and was was ridiculed in the media, according to The Telegraph.
11/19
The wooden mascots of the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway, were two Norwegian children named Kristin and Hakon. They were dressed in Viking clothes.
12/19
AP
The 1992 Summer Olympic Games in Barcelona were accompanied by the mascot Cobi, a Catalan sheepdog. The mascot was drawn in Cubist style inspired by Picasso, according to Time.
13/19
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"Hidy" and "Howdy," the brother and sister polar bears who wore western style outfits, represented the 1988 Winter Olympics held in Calgary, Canada. They were designed by Sheila Scott to represent Western Canadian hospitality.
14/19
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Seoul, South Korea, held the Olympics in 1988 and chose two tigers, OIdori and Hosuni, common animals in Korean mythology, as the official mascots, according to BBC News. Their names were chosen from a list of 2,295 submitted by the public.
15/19
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Los Angeles was home to the Summer Olympics in 1984 with Sam the Eagle, a bald eagle, as the mascot. It was designed by Robert Moore from The Walt Disney Company, according to BBC News.
16/19
AFP/Getty Images
In 1980, the Olympics were held in Moscow, accompanied by a cute bear cub as the event's mascot. The cub was the national symbol of the Soviet Union, according to Time.
17/19
Olympic.org/IOC
Amik One of Canada’s most distinctive mammals, the beaver, was chosen as the mascot for the Summer Games of Montreal in 1976. Shown are a few different variations on the mascot.
18/19
A snowman named Schneemann was chosen to be the official mascot for the 1976 Winter Olympic Games in Innsbruck, Austria. "Schnee" is German for "snow."
19/19
Waldi Waldi, the mascot for the 1972 Olympic Games in Munch, Germany, was the first official Olympic mascot. The multicolored dachshund was chosen to represent athletic tenacity and agility.
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