The Olympics did Britain proud, but can we say the same about the mascots?

On the 6th July 2005, Great Britain let out a cheer on the announcement that London had won the bid to host the 2012 Summer Olympics in 7 years’ time. From that point the countdown began, during which there were several milestones along the way – the unveiling of the Olympic logo and the unveiling of the Olympic mascots being prime examples.

On the 4th June 2007, the logo that none of us will ever forget (though we probably wish we could) was unveiled. We have all seen it come in various different colour combinations. As we know, it works around the year of the Olympics, with the rings and London incorporated into it. Nobody can deny that it will be an unforgettable logo, but it will we fear, be for all the wrong reasons. After the unveiling, the majority of people surveyed deemed the logo as ‘a wooden spoon’ winner.

The unveiling of the Olympic mascots left a few people scratching their heads, and we can’t blame them especially after discovering that they depict two drops of steel from a steelworks based in Bolton. Even after reading the inspiration behind the designs of Wenlock and Mandeville, we still don’t quite understand it. Some people may not realise it, but in fact Wenlock is the mascot for the Olympic Games, and Mandeville is for the Paralympic Games.

The names come from two towns in Great Britain with significance to the Olympics – Wenlock is named from Much Wenlock, a town in Shropshire which was visited by Baron De Coubertin (who was the man that proposed the return of the Olympic games) and hosted athletic competitions including a flag procession, competitors and sporting officials.

As you can see from the diagram above, there has been plenty of thought put into the design, including a taxi light on their heads akin to those seen on the iconic London black cabs.

Wenlock graced our screens quite frequently during the Olympics – especially during the athletics. Does anybody remember him lurking in the background while Usain Bolt ran round the stadium in a state of euphoria after winning gold in the 200m?

The Paralympics is set to start in 12 days, which will then mean the introduction of Mandeville, named after the village of Stoke Mandeville who hosted the Stoke Mandeville Games in a prelude to the Paralympics thanks to Dr. Ludwig Guttmann (there was even a drama about it on BBC One last night (16.08.2012) – The Best of Men).

There has been a lot of emphasis on making the 2012 games ‘modern’ and aiming it at the younger generations but we’re not entirely convinced that this has worked – there is an air of trying too hard surrounding the mascots and logo, especially with many retailers discounting the price of plush toy mascots as the sales weren’t rolling in as hoped.

We feel very much as though we’re going cold turkey after the Closing Ceremony on Sunday, with Mo Farah, Jessica Ennis or Sir Chris Hoy and co. no longer gracing our screen. The achievements of all our athletes will be remembered for a long time to come, but it is more than likely that the name of the London 2012 Olympics will live on, but we will choose to very quickly forget the logo and mascots.

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