The Buzz

London Olympic mascots unveiled... and they're bizarre

Categories: Art & Design, Social Media


Wenlock, left, the London 2012 Olympic mascot, and Mandeville, the Paralympic mascot, are unveiled at a primary school in London, England on May 19. (Julian Finney/Getty Images)

For those experiencing withdrawal two months after the conclusion of the Vancouver Olympics, the unveiling of the mascots for the 2012 Games in London should offer a certain thrill.

For the rest of us, it's an opportunity to poke fun at another craven marketing stunt.

Their names are Wenlock and Mandeville, and man, are they weird.

Unveiled by London Olympic committee chair Sebastien Coe at an East London school on Wednesday, the two figures look like a couple of marshmallows clad in space suits. That's my first impression, anyway. Wenlock (the orange one) and Mandeville (the blue one) each sport only one eye, which is apparently meant to represent a camera lens. OK, fine. So what am I to take from Mandeville's crotchless pants? The IOC's official endorsement of chaps?

As for the names, Wenlock derives his (her? its?) name from the British village of Much Wenlock, where Pierre de Coubertin conceived the idea of the modern Olympics in 1890. Mandeville, on the other hand, is a reference to Stoke Mandeville Hospital, which produced the Paralympic movement.

Not surprisingly, British design experts are outraged. "Patronizing, cretinous infantilism," said one. (British insults are always so deliciously visceral.) Then again, the idea of a sports mascot is typically geared towards kids, anyway. These two eyesores were apparently inspired by a children's story called Out of a Rainbow by author and Officer of the British Empire Michael Morpurgo. Hecklers are making snide references to the Teletubbies, but to me, Wenlock and Mandeville seem like they stepped out of another trippy British children's series: In the Night Garden.

I've decided these mascots are obnoxious.

Dear readers: What do you think of Wenlock and Mandeville?

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