The Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics opening ceremonies took place on Friday, February 7, and now athletes from around the world are going for gold. Sochi will be judged not only as a major world event but also on the character and quality of its mascots.
Which mascot from throughout the years stands above the rest? Take a look at the pictures and descriptions below, then take our poll and vote for your favourite!
Innsbruck 1976: Schneemann
This quirky snowman is a creation of Walter Pötsch and was considered a lucky charm who brought much needed snow in 1976 unlike the dry games in Innsbruck in 1964. Schneemann really captured the flavor of the 1970s and would probably do well today.
Lake Placid 1980: Roni
Roni the raccoon’s name was chosen by Lake Placid school children to go with the physical creation by Don Moss, Capital Sports. The raccoon is a familiar animal from the mountainous region of the Adirondacks – though, these days you are more apt to see one in the city rummaging through your garbage can. They are agile, playful, and determined creatures that would likely do well if they played sports.
Sarajevo 1984: Vučko
Vučko the wolf is the creation of Jože Trobec whose concept was chosen by the readers of various newspapers and magazines. Crowd sourcing paid off and led to this adorable, Hanna-Barbera-like wolf. Can you hear the sounds of athletes speeding down a track or performing well-choreographed ice routines? Jinkies!
Calgary 1988: Hidy and Howdy
Hidy and Howdy – the first mascot couple. What do you think? Are polar bears in cowboy get-ups cute… or kitschy? A study group made up of department store representatives worked on the choice of mascot… maybe they had other goals in mind. This Olympic couple was created by Sheila Scott at Great Scott Productions.
Albertville 1992: Magique
I’m not sure if Philippe Mairesse planned the tie-in of five Olympic rings to the five points of Magique, but that is how I interpret it. Although charming, Magique might be more suited to a child’s room than as an international sports star. What do you think?
Lillehammer 1994: Haakon and Kristin
Although they could easily have been named Hansel and Gretel, Haakon and Kristin brought their child-like innocence to the Games. These two were created by Kari and Werner Grossman, based on an idea by Javier Ramirez Campuzano.
Nagano 1998: Sukki, Nokki, Lekki, and Tsukki
Landor Associates created these abstract, colourful owls. Although fun, I’m not sure how I would tie them to the Winter Games.
Salt Lake City 2002: Powder, Coal, and Copper
These furry friends’ names are associated more with mining than the Olympics, but they are cute nonetheless. Created by Landor/Publicis, the snowshoe bear, hare, and coyote were safe choices.
Turin 2006: Neve and Gliz
An international contest that was launched three years before the start of the Games chose Pedro Alburquerque’s ode to snow and ice to represent the spirit of Turin.
Vancouver 2010: Quatchi and Miga
Who doesn’t love Sasquatch! Created by Meomi Design Inc., these two were inspired by creatures from stories of the First Nations on the West Coast of Canada. Two other characters were also created but were not considered official mascots.
Sochi 2014: Oleg Seredechniy, Vadim Pak, and Silviya Petrova
This fluffy trio were selected after a contest that was held first across Russia, then internationally. Professional designers worked on ten different mascots and the public voted on their favourite as part of a TV program in 2011.
So, what do you think – which Olympic mascot deserves to win?
Winner as of March 1, 2014: Vučko
Thanks to everyone who voted!
To learn more about the origin of these mascots see the International Olympic Committee’s Reference Document.
International Olympic Committee’s Reference Document]