12 Famous Olympic Mascots and Their Origins

Since 1968, every Olympics has ushered in with it another unforgettable mascot persona. These Olympic mascots have always found their way onto official merchandise of the Olympic Games. The most creative mascot designs have proven to be beloved by the host city and in some cases, an iconic piece of that year’s festivities.

Here are some of our favourite Olympic mascots and a short bio on their origins.

1. Codi (Barcelona, 1992 Olympics)

Codi was an Olympic mascot that wasn’t the most well received when released. You wouldn’t know it but it’s a Pyrenean mountain dog in a suit. It’s Cubist-inspired, something which sets the mascot apart from other designs. A successful Olympic mascot like Codi takes chances. Not everyone may like it but what Codi does well is stand out. The cuddliness of the little guy also admittedly helps.

2. Wenlock (London, 2012 Olympics)

Wenlock is a high-tech Olympic mascot perhaps most unique of the names included on this list. Wenlock is… well, we don’t know. It’s something though! Wenlock was made from the last drops of steel used to build London’s Olympic Stadium and comes to represent waste recycled. Although he – or is it she – doesn’t look fun, he carries a strong philosophical message and meaning which meant Wenlock was both a source of praise and criticism.

3. Waldi (Munich, 1972 Olympics)

Waldi’s cute, memorable, and although the Munich Olympic Games came to be known for numerous other events – positive and negative – Waldi’s mascot design is impressive. Elegant, clearly German, and heritage-based, the color palette is soft and family-friendly yet attention-grabbing.

4. Soohoorang (Pyeongchang, 2018 Olympics)

Soohoorang is absolutely adorable and received top marks from many admiring mascot lovers. Appropriate to the home country’s design culture, Soohoorang was cuddly, honest, and inoffensive. For future Olympic mascots, you can expect to see more inspiration pulled from traditional, classic Soohoorang-esque aesthetics.

5. Izzy (Atlanta, 1996 Olympics)

Izzy was a mascot design selected by a group of schoolchildren and became a key piece of the Atlanta Games. A representation of American creativity, Izzy is a party figure as much as it is fun for the whole family to admire.

6. Vicinius (Rio, 2016 Olympics)

Vicinius communicated pure Brazil, with positivity, sunshine, and colors preferred by the region. Vicinius is a combination of different Brazilian animals and cultural creatures, something which many may find to be a little disturbing.

With that said, others will see it as representative of a melting pot Brazil is known for. To this point, this is probably the greatest example of an Olympic mascot that’s cute, has meaning, and which is unique.

7. Schneeman (Innsbruck, 1976 Olympics)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z2qrfTEdDCU

Schneeman translates to ‘snowman’, as if this wasn’t evident in one’s immediate impression. Complete with human hands, this is a classic 1970s-era mascot design. Images like this are adaptable to the contemporary digital landscape and contains a wintery vibe perfect for the colder Olympics, although some may prefer more abstract mascot looks.

8. Haakon and Kristin (Lillehammer, 1994 Olympics)

Haakon and Kristin may seem a little out of date compared to today’s high-tech world but the childlike pair were fine Olympic mascots in their day. One of the more realistic Olympic mascots you will find out there, they are indicative of a time gone by.

These days, Olympic mascots are less realistic and more angled towards producing a message, representing a culture, or integrating environmental meanings.

9. Quatchi and Miga (Vancouver, 2010 Olympics)

The duo of Quatchi and Miga are a pair of Olympic mascots that will go down in history as a couple of favourites. A sasquatch and a sea bear, they are a tribute to heritage and indigenous Canadian culture. Unique and cute in design, this sort of all-age huggable mascot aesthetic is exactly what so many Games have gone for but few have achieved.

10. Amik (Montreal, 1976 Olympics)

Amik is the most minimalist Olympic mascot there ever was and with minimalism being a high design trend today, the Canadian beaver creature still carries with it heavy meaning. With Canada’s many cultures and geographic regions, it can be hard to find a mascot that unifies everyone under one banner. In an odd, timeless way, in 1976, Amik did exactly that.

11. Magique (Albertville, 1992 Olympics)

Magique was a childlike figure when first brought forth but in hindsight, appears rather creepy. Magique isn’t quite an animal or a person – it just kind of exists. That said, it’s fun and entertaining. Most importantly, this Olympic mascot design worked for its time even though it may not have necessarily aged well.

12. Collectibles (Beijing, 2008 Olympics)

For the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, a very interesting concept was developed. Instead of just one Olympic mascot, why not have multiples? Beibei, Jingjing, Huanhuan, Yingying, and Nini are symbolic, cute, and memorable. Each of the five represent a different Chinese element – prosperity, happiness, health, luck, and passion for sport. Kids loved collecting them, adults appreciated their inoffensiveness, and the colors and design simply worked!