Who wouldn’t like fictionalized characters to come to real life? The Olympics have always been an inspiration to everybody doesn’t matter they are athletes or not. Since the Olympics began, its popularity grew year by year with the abundance of countries taking part in the competition. The viewership also increased but it was felt that to get the whole world involved, everyone should remember the games in some sort of way. Kids and toddlers were the ones who didn’t know anything about the Olympics. So, the idea of official Olympic mascots who will be a fictionalized characters in order to help market the Olympic Games to a younger audience. They will represent the Olympics games which will be an animal or human figure of the city, country in which the Olympics are being held. KreedOn brings a complete list of Olympic mascots from 1972 – 2020.
List of Olympic Mascots 1972 – 2020
|1972 Munich Summer Olympics||Waldi||Elena Winschermann|
|1976 Innsbruck Winter Olympics||Schneemandl||Walter Pötsch|
|1976 Montreal Summer Olympics||Amik||St-Arnaud, Yvon Laroche and Pierre-Yves Pelletier, under the leadership of Georges Huel.|
|1980 Lake Placid Winter Olympics||Roni||Don Moss, Capital Sports|
|1980 Moscow Summer Olympics||Misha||Victor Chizhikov|
|1984 Saravejo Winter Olympics||Vucko||Jože Trobec|
|1984 Los Angeles Summer Olympics||Sam||C. Robert Moore, Walt Disney Productions.|
|1988 Seoul Summer Olympics||Hodori||Kim Hyun|
|1992 Albertville Winter Olympics||Magique||Philippe Mairesse|
|1992 Barcelona Summer Olympic Games||Cobi||Javier Mariscal|
|1994 Lillehammer Winter Olympics||Hakon and Kristin||Kari and Werner Grossman, based on an idea by Javier Ramirez Campuzano|
|1996 Atlanta Summer Olympic Games||Izzy||John Ryan, DESIGNefx|
|1998 Nagano Winter Olympics||Sukki, Nokki, Lekki, and Tsukki||Landor Associates|
|2000 Sydney Summer Olympics||Syd, Olly, and Millie||Matthew Hatton|
|2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics||Powder, Coal, and Copper||Landor/Publicis|
|2004 Athens Summer Olympics||Athena and Phevos||Spiros Gogos, Paragraph Design|
|2006 Turin Winter Olympics||Neve & Gliz||Pedro Albuquerque|
|2008 Beijing Summer Olympics||Fuwa||Han Meilin|
|2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics||Quatchi and Miga||Meomi design|
|2012 London Summer Olympics||Wenlock||Iris design agency|
|2014 Sochi Winter Olympics||Bely Mishka, Snow Leopard, and Zaika||Silviya Petrova (Hare), Oleg Seredechniy (Polar Bear) and Vadim Pak (Leopard)|
|2016 Rio Summer Olympics||Vinicius||Birdo Produções|
|2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics||Soohorang|
|2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics||Miraitowa||Ryo Taniguchi|
History of Olympic mascots
The first mascot to ever feature on the Olympics games was a cartoon character of some sort. It was not an official mascot rather it acted as a symbol of merchandising of the games at the 1968 Grenoble Winter Olympics. This character was designed by Frenchman Aline Lafargue. The name of the mascot was Schuss. It was designed only a single night before the Olympic games were scheduled to start. The character was depicted as a little man on skis, designed in an abstract form and painted in the colors of France: blue, red, and white.
However, the first official mascot was made public in the 1972 Munich Olympics. It was designed by Graphic Designer Elena Winschermann. It was called Waldi the Dachshund (Weiner Dog) due to its popularity this particular breed was chosen at such an auspicious moment. Waldi’s concept first took shape three years before the games at a Christmas party where the designers were given crayons and were asked to doodle anything that they think will represent the games and country as well. It was mentioned in a YouTube video of an interview of Elena posted by the Olympic Museum YouTube Page.
At first, the mascots were different for the Winter, Summer, and Paralympic Olympic games. The Paralympics’ first mascots were two squirrels in athletic jerseys in Arnhem Paralympics 1980. It was designed by Necky Oprinsen. He was trying to sell his memorabilia and got lucky because of which the Paralympics (at that time it was called Olympics for the disabled) got their first-ever mascot.
The success of these first mascots helped the mascots become an official symbol of the games and their inclusion was a necessity for every edition which took place from 1980. The mascots are designed to depict the atmosphere around the country and are filled with bright colors to give it a look of a festival.
We’ve seen the maturation of the mascots over the past fifty years. Starting with simple designs created on a whim to full-blown votes, cast by thousands of individuals. From something of an afterthought to images that featured seemingly everywhere at the games.
A look at the Olympic Mascots through time
1972 Munich Summer Olympic Mascots – Waldi
This colorful dachshund was based on a real dog named Cherie von Birkenhof. This type of dog is very popular in Germany, represented the attributes required for athletes: resistance, tenacity, and agility.
1976 Innsbruck Winter Olympic Mascots – Schneemandl
The first official mascot of the Winter Games means snowman in German. He wore a red hat typically worn in Austria.
1976 Montreal Summer Olympic Mascots – Amik
It is an animal known for its patience and hard work. A beaver was chosen because it is the national symbol of Canada.
1980 Lake Placid Winter Olympic Mascots – Roni
A mascot played different sports. The name was chosen by school children and comes from the word “raccoon” in Iroquoian, the language of the native people of Lake Placid, New York.
1980 Moscow Summer Olympic Mascots – Misha
Before the Olympics, Misha traveled space too and became very popular.
1984 Saravejo Winter Olympic Mascots – Vucko
The mascot was chosen through a contest. It also embodies courage and symbolizes winter found in the forests of the Dinaric Alps region.
1984 Los Angeles Summer Olympic Mascots – SAM
Designed by the legendary Bob Moore. The eagle is the national bird of the United States of America.
1988 Seoul Summer Olympic Mascots – Hodori
1992 Albertville Winter Olympic Mascots – Magique
This mascot was a combination of a star, and a cube.
1992 Barcelona Summer Olympic Mascots – Cobi
Cobi is a mountain dog
1994 Lillehammer Winter Olympic Mascots – Hakon and Kristin
Named after prominent figures in the history of Norway.
1996 Atlanta Summer Olympic Mascots – Izzy
His name was chosen by American children from over 3,000 suggestions from children in 16 different countries.
1998 Nagano Winter Olympic Mascots – Sukki, Nokki, Lekki, and Tsukki
These four owls are also known as Snow lets. They each come together to represent the four elements: fire, air, earth, and water.
2000 Sydney Summer Olympic Mascots – Syd, Olly, and Millie
Syd is a reference to Sydney, Olly to the Olympics, and Millie to a New Millennium. Syd is a duck-billed platypus, Olly is an echidna, and Millie is a spiny anteater – three typical Australian animals.
2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympic Mascots – Powder, Coal, and Copper
Powder is a snowshoe hare, Copper is a coyote, and Coal is a black bear featured as mascots.
2004 Athens Summer Olympic Mascots – Athena and Phevos
These were Two modern children resembling ancient Greek dolls.
2006 Turin Winter Olympic – Neve & Gliz
Snow Gliz means ice. Together, they make the perfect conditions for the Winter Olympics.
2008 Beijing Summer Olympic – the Fuwa
Beibei, Jingjing, Huanhuan, Yingying, Nini : were the 5 characters of this mascot.
2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic – Quatchi and Miga
Quatchi is a sasquatch (they do exist!) and Miga is a sea bear, a mythical animal that is part killer whale and part spirit bear.
2012 London Summer Olympic – Wenlock
It was in memory after the village of Much Wenlock in Shropshire. It denotes the UK’s start of the Industrial Revolution.
2014 Sochi Winter Olympics – Bely Mishka, Snow Leopard, and Zaika
Bely Mishka (Polar Bear), Snow Leopard (leopard), Zaika (the dore hare)
First mascots decided by popular vote.
2016 Rio Summer Olympics – Vinicius
Inspired by Brazilian fauna. Named after the poet and composer Vinicius de Moraes.
2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympic – Soohorang
A white tiger is a symbol of trust, strength, and protection.
2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics – Miraitowa
A superhero-inspired character that embodies both tradition and innovation.