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Mascots, Medals & Emblems of the Olympic Games

Updated on November 12, 2014

Olympic Games - Mascots, Medals and Emblems

The first official mascot in the history of the Summer Olympics made its appearance at the 1972 Munich Games, and they have remained a main element ever since.

A mascot was actually introduced during the 1968 Winter Games in Grenoble after Schuss, a cartoon-like character on skis, was the unofficial mascot there.

Generally, the mascot is an animal or human figure representing the cultural heritage of the host country.

Why use a mascot?

  1. Mascots act as a significant vehicle for communicating the Olympic spirit to the general public, especially children and the young generation.
  2. Able to materialize the Olympic spirit.
  3. Unique and popular image full of vitality.
  4. Communicate the concepts of each of the Summer Games.
  5. Promote the history and culture of the host city.
  6. Create a festive atmosphere for the Games.
Whatever shapes they have, they fundamentally share a creative rationale, that is, the mascots must be able to convey the theme of the Summer Games, showcase the distinctive geographical features, history and culture unique to the host city.

2012 London Olympic Games

Emblem

The logo is obviously a representation of the number 2012, it has the Olympic Rings embedded inside the zero.

London 2012 has said that the aim of the logo is to reach out to young people; this is very much in the spirit of the Olympic movement. But, it received so much negative press attention soon after the design was announced, with one commentator even implying that it looked like the logo for the 1970s and 1980s children's television programme, Tiswas. So how were the authorities going to gain respect from the younger generation?

Being positive, at least it got people talking about it, perhaps not in the light intended - but any coverage is better than no coverage, so they say! In general, designers describe it as "well thought out" and anticipate that it will in time "become a source of pride for London and the Games.

The logo was designed by Wolff Olins and cost a huge £400,000 in 2007.

Aerial View of the 2012 Olympic Stadium,

Stratford, East End, London, England, United Kingdom

Dorando Pietri, a Gallant Marathon Runner from the 1908 London Olympics

2012 London Mascots

Wenlock and Mandeville

Wenlock and Mandeville are the 2012 Olympic Games mascots, they are the very first customisable mascots for any Olympics, and are animations that depict two drops of molten steel from a steelworks.

Each is named after an English town, Wenlock after Much Wenlock in Shropshire, and Mandeville after Stoke Mandeville Hospital. The latter is a facility in Buckinghamshire that organised the Stoke Mandeville Games, which was a forerunner of the Paralympic Games.

Wenlock

In 1850, the Wenlock Olympian Society held its first Olympian Games, and this is seen as an inspiration for the current Olympic games. On his wrist, he has five friendship bracelets, each of these takes the colour of an Olympic ring. The three podium places are represented by three points on his head, whilst the shape on the front of his head represents that of the Olympic stadium roof.

Mandeville

On Mandeville's wrist is a pink stopwatch which on certain models reads 0:20:12. His helmet-like head has three points coloured blue, red and green represents the agitos, which is the Paralympic Symbol.

2012 London Medals

British artist David Watkins, who is recognized in the field of decorative art, designed the Olympic medals.

The circular form of the Olympic medals' is a metaphor for the world while the front of the medal depicts Nike, the Greek Goddess of Victory, stepping out of the Parthenon to arrive in the Host City.

On the reverse of the medals, the design contains five main symbolic elements:

  • The dished background suggests a bowl similar to the design of an amphitheatre
  • The core emblem is an architectural expression, a metaphor for the modern City, or as a geological metaphor as a tough crystalline growth which is deliberately jewel like
  • The grid brings both a pulling together and sense of outreach on the design - an image of radiating energy that represents the athletes' achievements and effort
  • The River Thames is a symbol for London and also suggests a fluttering baroque ribbon and adds a sense of celebration
  • The square is the final balancing motif of the design, opposing the overall circularity of the design and emphasising its focus on the centre and reinforcing the sense of 'place' as in a map inset

London 2012 - The Official Book

London 2012 Olympic Games The Official Book
London 2012 Olympic Games The Official Book

This is the official illustrated guide to the London 2012 Olympic Games. So, if you are just going to be watching at home or are lucky enough to get to a stadium, this terrific guide will give you expert analysis about the prospects of the star athletes. It is full of stunning photography.

As this is The Official Book it features a guide to each of the sports and venues, a potted history of the Games, and a timetable of all events so you don't have to miss a single moment.

 

2008 Beijing Olympic Games

Emblem

Every emblem of the Olympics tells a story. The Beijing 2008 Olympic Games emblem "Chinese Seal, Dancing Beijing" is filled with Beijing's hospitality and hopes, and carries the city's commitment to the world.

"Dancing Beijing" is a kind invitation. The open arms in the emblem say that China is opening its arms to welcome the rest of the world to join the Olympics, a celebration of "peace, friendship and progress of mankind."

2008 Beijing Mascots

The Fuwa Dolls - One World, One Dream

Like the Five Olympic Rings from which they draw their colour and inspiration, Fuwa were the Official Mascots of Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. They carried a message of friendship and peace - and good wishes from China - to children all over the world.

Designed to express the playful qualities of five little children who form an intimate circle of friends, Fuwa also embody the natural characteristics of four of China's most popular animals - the Fish, the Panda, the Tibetan Antelope, the Swallow and the Olympic Flame.

Each of Fuwa has a rhyming two-syllable name - a traditional way of expressing affection for children in China.

  • Beibei is the Fish
  • Jingjing is the Panda
  • Huanhuan is the Olympic Flame
  • Yingying is the Tibetan Antelope
  • Nini is the Swallow

When you put their names together -- Bei Jing Huan Ying Ni -- they say "Welcome to Beijing," offering a warm invitation that reflects the mission of Fuwa as young ambassadors for the Olympic Games.

Fuwa also embody both the landscape and the dreams and aspirations of people from every part of the vast country of China. In their origins and their headpieces, you can see the five elements of nature -- the sea, forest, fire, earth and sky -- all stylistically rendered in ways that represent the deep traditional influences of Chinese folk art and ornamentation.

2008 Beijing Medals

The medal for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games is designed with inspiration coming from "bi", China's ancient jade piece inscribed with a dragon pattern. The medals, made of gold and jade, symbolize nobility and virtue and are the embodiment of traditional Chinese values of ethics and honor, sending forth strong Chinese flavour.

The design inspiration of the medal hook derives from jade "huang", a ceremonial jade piece with decoration of double dragon pattern and "Pu", the reed mat pattern.

Noble and elegant, the Beijing Olympic Games medal is a blending of traditional Chinese culture and the Olympic spirit. It gives the winners of the Games great honor and acclamation as recognition of their achievement.

Note: bi, a flat jade disc with a circular hole in the center.

huang, a semi circular jade ornament.

Birds Nest Stadium, Beijing 2008

Birds Nest Stadium, Beijing 2008
Birds Nest Stadium, Beijing 2008

The First Olympic Games,

from 'The History Of Our Wonderful World', 1967

2004 Athens Olympic Games

Emblem

The 2004 Olympic Games emblem portrays an olive wreath, or kotinos, a branch from an olive tree intertwined in a circle.

The emblem is a reference to the ancient Olympic Games, where the kotinos was the official award of Olympic champions.

In addition, the olive was the sacred tree of Athens. The colours of the emblem symbolise the shades of white and blue found in the Greek countryside.

2004 Athens Mascots

Athena and Phevos

Athena and Phevos when presented to the public in April 2002 made an impact from the very beginning.

Athena and Phevos were two children, a sister and a brother, related to ancient Greece. The source of their inspiration was an ancient Greek doll from the 7th century BC. The bell-shaped terracotta doll has movable limbs and is dressed in a tunic. 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.
  • Phevos, the Olympian god of light and music, known as Apollo.

Athena and Phevos quickly became part of Greek everyday life and impressed everyone with their presence during the Games. Different poses were created to show them engaging in carefree, spontaneous play, reminding us all that participation is worth more than victory.

While playing, they did not miss a single Olympic Sport. They explored every discipline with playfulness and team spirit. With a wide smile on their face, Athena and Phevos never ceased to find new ways to meet their challenges. The two children symbolised the Olympic ideal, noble competition and equality, through creativity and sports. They reminded everyone that humanity is, and will always remain, at he centre of the Olympic Games.

More than 100 poses were created until the end of the Games to accommodate the needs for design applications using Athena and Phevos.

2004 Athens Medals

The design was created by Elena Votsi

The main feature of the medals is the Greek character shown on both sides, since their basic side has been changed for the first time since the Amsterdam Olympic Games in 1928. This is of particular importance, as from now on all Olympic medals will reflect the Greek character of the Games as regards both their origin and their revival.

On the medals awarded to Olympic athletes from 1928 until the Sydney Games, goddess Nike was seated, holding an ear of corn in one hand and a wreath in the other. Here, she flies into the stadium bringing victory to the best athlete. The Organising Committee has chosen to show the Panathenic stadium, where the Games were first renewed in 1896. On the obverse, the athlete's discipline was engraved.

The reverse side of the medal is composed of three elements:

The eternal flame that will be lit in Olympia and will travel through the five continents by way of the 2004 Torch Relay; the opening lines of Pindar's Eighth Olympic Ode composed in 460 BC to honour the victory of Alkimedon of Aegina in wrestling and the ATHENS 2004 Olympic Games emblem.

The total number of medals produced was 1,130 gold, 1,130 silver, and 1,150 bronze.

2000 Sydney Olympic Games

Emblem

The emblem represents the figure of an athlete, using typically Australian shapes and colours. The boomerangs and suggestions of sun and rocks, together with the colours of the harbour, beaches and red interior invoke the unique Australian landscape and its original inhabitants.

The flash which transforms the silhouette of Sydney Opera House into a trail of smoke from an Olympic torch recalls the emblem of Sydney's Olympic candidature.

2000 Sydney Mascots

Millie, Syd and Ollie

Ollie, Syd and Millie, designed by Matt Hatton and Jozef Szekeres, are three native Australian animals chosen as mascots for the Sydney 2000 Games. They represent earth, air and water.

"Olly" - (from Olympic), a kookaburra, epitomizes the Olympic spirit of generosity and universal generosity

"Syd" - (from Sydney), a platypus, represents the environment and captures the vigor and energy of Australia and its people

"Millie" - (from Millennium), an echidna, is a techno-whiz and information guru, with all the facts and figures at her fingertips.

There was also an unofficial mascot, Fatso the Fat-Arsed Wombat, popularized by comedy team The Dream with Roy and HG.

2000 Sydney Medals

Designed by Woljciech Pietranik and Brian Thompson

The customary symbols, including the Victory Goddess holding a winner's crown, are engraved on the obverse face.

The Sydney Opera House, the Olympic torch and the Olympic rings are represented on the reverse.

Until the end of 1991, Australia minted both a:

  • 1 cent coin - featuring a Feathertail Glider on the reverse side of the coin
  • 2 cent coin - featuring a Frill-necked Lizard on the reverse side of the coin

In 1992, these coins began to be removed from circulation. People were urged to exchange them for coins still in circulation.

Both the 1 cent coins and 2 cent coins were melted down and turned into bronze medals for the 2000 Olympics.

Olympic Games Books on Amazon

1996 Atlanta Olympic Games

Emblem

The base of the torch mark logo, made of the five Rings and the number 100, resembles a classical Greek column and recognizes the centennial of the Games.

The torch mark's flames gradually evolve into a perfect star symbolizing each athlete's pursuit of excellence.

The gold colour in this logo represents gold medals. The green represents laurel branches worn by winners in ancient times, as well as Atlanta's reputation as the City of Trees.

1996 Atlanta Mascot

Izzy

In late 1991, a design competition was organized that included prospective mascot submissions from 20 designers and also reviewed suggestions gathered from the public as a result of a local newspaper promotion.

WHATIZIT - a computer-animated mascot created by a local design firm was chosen as the most innovative concept, because of its ability to change in appearance to represent different athletes and sports; hence its name, "What is it?"

Selection of the mascot was announced in 1992. However, a major challenge was presented, as implementation of its computer image into printed images, costumes, and merchandise had not yet been fully developed at that time.

1996 Atlanta Medals

Drawing represents Nike, the goddess of victory

On the obverse, a drawing that has been in use since the Amsterdam Games of 1928, representing Nike, the goddess of victory, holding palms in her left hand, and, in her right hand, held over her head, a winner's crown.

On the reverse, the logo of the 1996 Games and a stylized olive branch.

In all, 633 gold medals, 635 silver, and 661 bronze medals were cast for these Games.

Olympic Games Stuff on Amazon

1992 Barcelona Olympic Games

Emblem

The official emblem, designed by Josep Maria Trias from Barcelona, depicted a dynamic human figure in a stance that suggested someone jumping an obstacle - which consisted of the five Olympic rings.

The simple, gestural lines reduced the characterisation of the figure to the head (in the blue of the Mediterranean), the arms (the yellow of the sun and wide open in sign of hospitality) and the legs (a vivid red).

1992 Barcelona Mascot

Cobi the Sheep Dog

Like the emblem, the mascot identifies a particular Olympic Games, but in a way more guaranteed to inspire affection.

To choose the mascot for Barcelona, another closed competition was called, also with six designers. Javier Mariscal was the designer eventually chosen. His design consisted of an image of a human-looking dog, with open arms, sketched in a thick, uneven, black line and treated with a false perspective that gave it a flattened effect.

In order to make the mascot more acceptable to the general public, Josep M. Trias used computers to soften the shape. Once the definitive image of the first official mascot had been achieved, it was baptised. The name chosen was "CoBi", which made an allusion to the initials of COOB'92 and was easy to remember and pronounce in most languages. The arbitrary combination of upper and lowercase letters and the typography in which the name was presented (an alphabet created specially by Mariscal) helped to make "CoBi" more than just a name: it was a logotype.

1992 Barcelona Medals

Designed by the sculptor Xavier Corberó.

On the obverse, a medallion 56mm in diameter, superimposed on the medal and slightly off-centre, on which the image of the goddess of victory appeared, drawn in a Modernist style, together with the words "XXV Olimpíada Barcelona 1992".

On the reverse the official emblem of the Barcelona Games.

1988 Seoul Olympic Games

Emblem

The Seoul emblem features a samtaeguk pattern. A samtaeguk is a traditional Korean pattern and visual image which represents Korea. This pattern is widely used as decoration on fans, gates of Korean-style homes, artefacts, and folk crafts.

The Olympic emblem features patterns in two forms, centripetal and centrifugal; the centripetal motion represented the people of the world coming together in Korea, thus symbolising worldwide harmony, while the centrifugal motion represented a march onward in search of man's lasting happiness and prosperity.

1988 Seoul Mascot

Hodori the Tiger

For the 1988 Olympic Games, which was held in an Oriental country, a little tiger designed by Kim Hyun with typical Oriental colour was chosen as the mascot, who was named Hodori.

Hodori was designed as an amicable tiger, which portrays the friendly and hospitable traditions of the Koreans. Ho is derived from the Korean word for tiger, and Dori is a diminutive for boys in Korea.

The friendly tiger of Seoul wore the Olympic Rings around its neck, much like a medal, while sporting a traditional Korean dance hat on its head.

1988 Seoul Medals

On the obverse, the ancient coliseum and the goddess of victory holding the laurel crowns and the caption: "XXIV Olympiad Seoul 1988".

On the reverse , a dove, the symbol of peace, soaring up, holding a laurel branch in its mouth, and the Seoul Olympic sash composed of three Taeguk patterns from the Korean national flag and the five Olympic rings.

1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games

Emblem

The star is a universal symbol of the highest aspirations of mankind, the horizontal bars portray the speed with which the contestants pursue the excellence, while the repetition of the star shape connotes the spirit of competition between equally outstanding physical forms.

1984 Los Angeles Mascot

Sam the Eagle

Major Southern California animation and film studios were contacted by the LAOOC regarding the design of the mascot. Walt Disney Productions was ultimately selected from among three finalists.

Emphasis first focused on developing something emblematic of the Southern California area, including such possibilities as the sun, palm trees and seals. Considerations were expanded to include the state of California, whose symbol is a bear, but that idea was soon discarded since the Moscow Games had used a bear mascot.

Finally, design development focused on symbols representative of the entire United States and the logical choice was the eagle.

Generally considered a rather stern and aloof bird, a warmer, more friendly eagle had to be created. A short, stubby, cuddly little eagle evolved. He had a large head, bulbous middle section and a protruding derriere accented by an array of tail feathers.

Besides serving as the national bird of the host country, the eagle was also universally recognized as an incarnation of the ideals cited in the Olympic motto:

"Citius, Altius, Fortius" (swifter, higher, stronger).

Since the eagle would have to be shown as a competitor in the various athletic events, the wings were drawn to function as "arms" and the feathers as "fingers." The eagle was designed to work as a costumed character as well as a two-dimensional graphic symbol.

The full-sized costume was successfully used for LAOOC promotional and youth activities. Moreover, Sam the Olympic Eagle proved commercially successful, as a doll and on mugs, pins, T-shirts and many other products.

1984 Los Angeles Medals

The medals for 1984 were an adaptation of the original design by Florentine artist Giuseppe Cassioli created for the 1928 Games in Amsterdam.

The obverse of the medal features the ancient coliseum and the goddess of victory holding a winner's crown.

The reverse of the medal features a victorious athlete, a palm branch carried by jubilant athletes, and a stadium in the background.

1980 Moscow Olympic Games

Emblem

The official emblem was created by Vladimir Arsentyev.

Above the Olympic rings we find parallel lines in the shape of a pyramid, and a five pointed star which serves as a reminder of the flag of the Kremlin.

1980 Moscow Mascot

Misha the Bear

The mascot of the Moscow Olympics was chosen with the help of a public opinion poll conducted jointly by the editorial boards of the TV programme "V mire zhivotnykh" (Animal World) and the newspaper Sovetski Sport (Soviet Sport). The majority of the 45,000 letters received suggested a bear.

A group of artists, recommended by the Artists Union of the USSR, worked out 60 graphic versions. The bear - called Misha - submitted by artist V. Chizhikov from Moscow, was selected as the mascot of the Moscow Games.

1980 Moscow Medals

On the obverse, the traditional Olympic symbol of victory: the goddess Nike holding a laurel wreath; in the lower right-hand corner, a fragment of the colosseum, above it, the inscription in Cyrillic Igry XXII Olimpiady Moskva 1980 (Games of the XXII Olympiad Moscow 1980).

On the reverse, a stylised Olympic Bowl with a burning flame (not burning a burning flame) against the background of a stadium arena. The upper right-hand segment, carries the insignia of the Moscow Olympics. The name of the sport appears on the rim.

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1976 Montreal Olympic Games

Emblem

The Montreal emblem is made up of the Olympic rings mounted on an Olympic podium, which is also the graphic interpretation of the letter M, (for Montreal).

In the centre is the athletics track, the focal point of the Games.

This emblem invokes the universal fraternity offered by the Olympic Ideal, as well as the glory of the winners, the gallant spirit of their battles and the accession of Montreal to the rank of Olympic city.

1976 Montreal Mascot

Amik the Beaver

Several reasons justified the choice of the beaver as mascot of the 1976 Olympic Games. Recognized for its patience and hard work, this animal has occupied an important place in the economic development of Canada from the time when the fur trade was the major activity in North America. It has been honored as the national symbol of Canadians and appears on coins and stamps.

Closely associated with the history and folklore of Canada, the beaver also appears on the coats-of-arms of both Montréal and Kinston.

The mascot of the 1976 Games was called "Amik," a word meaning beaver in the Algonquin language, the most widespread among the Amerindians of Canada.

The Mascot bore the emblem of the Montréal Games and a red sash representing the ribbons to which Olympic medals are attached.

1976 Montreal Medals

On the obverse, the design of Guiseppe Cassioli, created for the Amsterdam Games in 1928. The principal symbols are Victory, Fraternity and Universality.

The reverse was designed as intentionally bare. It comprises a stylized laurel crown, symbol of victory since the Games of Antiquity, and the emblem of the Montreal Games.

1972 Munich Olympic Games

Emblem

The Munich emblem was created by Otl Aicher.

The emblem represents a crown of rays of light, a design symbolizing the spirit of the Munich Games - light, freshness, generosity, expressed by the design "Radiant Munich".

1972 Munich Mascot

Waldi the dachshund

Waldi, the dachshund proved to be very popular in Bavaria. The dachshund possesses qualities which are indispensable to an athlete: resistance, tenacity and agility. These are among the reasons why he was chosen to be the mascot. He was dressed in pastel colors to express the gaiety and joy of the Olympic festival.

1972 Munich Medals

Design was created by Gerhard Marcks

On the obverse, the traditional goddess of victory, a design used since the 1928 Amsterdam Games, accompanied by the specific inscription "XX Olympiade München 1972".

On the reverse, Castor and Pollux, the twin sons of Zeus and Léda, the patrons of sports competitions and friendship, represented by two naked youths. This design was created by Gerhard Marcks, one of the last representatives of the Bauhaus.

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    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      You have a lot of work into this page, Rob. Nicely done.

      The Hodori the Tiger is my favorite, too cute!

    • mihgasper profile image

      Miha Gasper 5 years ago from Ljubljana, Slovenia, EU

      P.S. I still have a mascot of Montreal Olympics!

    • mihgasper profile image

      Miha Gasper 5 years ago from Ljubljana, Slovenia, EU

      I used to watch Olympic games when i way younger. As I kid I wished to be older, so I could watch them all night, but now I can hardly find time to change the final results. I'll be happy if I could see one full hour of program...

      Very creative lens. Thumbs up!

    • sousababy profile image

      sousababy 5 years ago

      I enjoy watching both the summer and winter Olympic games. For some reason, mascots always appeal to me. Nothing beats having a friendly animal around to promote a team (or country). Kids love 'em too.

    • Blackspaniel1 profile image

      Blackspaniel1 5 years ago

      Nice lens.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      liked the detail and the different kinds of medals too. If you like browsing lens too, mine has a great educational topic with poll questions for my readers to do.

    • profile image

      SportsPro 5 years ago

      Wow, great lens. You put a lot of work into it. If anyone reading this is a mascot, you need to check out http://www.team-mascots.com There you will find a huge selection of mascot costumes all made in USA with guaranteed lowest prices.

    • jolou profile image

      jolou 6 years ago

      I love the winter games The 2010 games were in Vancouver, BC,close to where I lived They were wonderful games, and I treasure the memories.