A look into the best summer Olympic games mascots

According to the Official website of the Olympic Movement, the Olympic mascots’ job is giving a physical form to encourage Olympic spirit, spreading the games’ values, as well as promoting the history and culture of the host city. That’s a pretty big job and some mascots have been better at it than others. Here’s a look at some of the best summer Olympic Games mascots.

No discussion about Olympic Games mascots would be complete without mentioning the dog that started it all. Waldi the Dachshund was the first official Olympic mascot and appeared at the Munich summer games in 1972. He has a blue head and tail with yellow, green, and orange stripes in between to represent the rings. The first two mascots – Waldi and Amik – both have a very basic and simple designs. Although these animals are both symbolic of their host countries and culture, there was very little symbolism of any other kind.

However, Misha the bear from the 1980 Moscow Olympics and Sam the bald eagle from the 1984 Los Angeles games, the mascots took on more of a cartoon character appearance. Misha was a fluffy brown bear with a big smile and a striped belt decorated with Olympic rings. Sam was a little flashier with his red, white, and blue hat, as well as a red shirt and big bow tie. He was even designed by the cartoon masters at Disney to ensure a fun and friendly image. They were followed by Hodori the tiger for the 1986 games in Seoul, Korea.

Evolution of Olympic Mascots

Olympic Games mascots underwent what turned out to be a significant change for the 1992 Barcelona games. Popular Spanish designer, Javier Mariscal, created Cobi whose mascot represents herding dogs that have historically been an important part of Spanish culture. This mascot eventually became one of the most popular Olympic Games mascots ever. He was used in several large corporate ad campaigns and even had his own cartoon show, a trend that would continue with future mascots.

This mascot opened doors for more creative and abstract designs that incorporate more symbolism. Cobi was followed by Izzy for the Atlanta games in 1996. In spite of having his own video game, Izzy is arguably the most unpopular mascot ever. He was so unpopular, the mascots for the 2000 games – Syd, Oly, and Millie – went back to cartoon style and were culturally significant animals native to the host country of Australia.

The mascots Phevos and Athena for the 2004 games in Athens appear to be more abstract in shape, but are patterned after ancient dolls to symbolize the value of play and connection between ancient Greece and the modern Olympic games. Their design included more symbolism incorporated in colour choices, and the choice of a brother and sister pair is meant to symbolize unity, equality and brotherhood.

The mascots for Beijing in 2008 and London in 2012 saw an increase in symbolism incorporated into the designs. The 5 “good luck” dolls from Beijing and then the Wenlock from the London Olympics don’t represent actual animals or things. Rather they are characters created with a combination of symbolic and culturally significant elements that’s already exists in the respective countries’ culture.

As you can see, mascot design can be a very important part of successfully conveying your message, and representing your brand, team, sport, or company. Hogtown Mascots can handle everything you need for a successful mascot campaign. Design, production and even mascot performers can help your organization stand out. Contact us today!

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