Mascots of the 2012 Olympics

Wenlock and Mandeville are the official mascots for the 2012 Summer Olympics and Paralympics being held in London, United Kingdom.

The mascots were unveiled on 19 May 2010; this marks the second time (after Vancouver‘s Miga, Quatchi, Sumi and Mukmuk) that both Olympic and Paralympic mascots were unveiled at the same time. The mascots were created and designed by iris, a London-based creative agency. Wenlock and Mandeville are animations depicting two drops of steel from a steelworks in Bolton. They are named after the Shropshire town of Much Wenlock, which held a forerunner of the current Olympic Games, and Stoke Mandeville Hospital, a facility in Buckinghamshire that initially organised the Stoke Mandeville Games, the precursor of the Paralympic Games.

Their Story

The British children’s writer Michael Morpurgo wrote the story concept to go with Wenlock and Mandeville and an animation titled “Out of a Rainbow” was produced by the London office of Beijing based Crystal CG;  it is intended that this will form part of an ongoing series concerning the mascots in the run-up to the games.

Synopsis

At the steelworks in Bolton they are finishing building the last girder for the Olympic stadium. Two drops fall out of the molten-steel, and once cooled are picked up by a man named George. The day happens to be George’s retirement day so he signs the finished girder and cycles home. He gets home to his wife and grandchildren as they give him his retirement cake. Later when everyone else is asleep he decides to make a gift for his grandchildren out of the steel drops. The next day George and his wife give their grandchildren the steel Wenlock and Mandeville. The two children take the mascots up to the attic and place them on the windowsill when a rainbow forms going through the house. The rainbow brings Wenlock and Mandeville to colour and to life where they learn sports from the children, posters and the TV. Wenlock and Mandeville realise their names from books and trophies before leaving on the rainbow. The story ends with: “Then suddenly the rainbow disbanded; Wenlock and Mandeville know it’s time to go, their journey is just beginning. So many adventures to have, so many people to tell, but they will meet again; in London, in 2012. They’ll be there, You’ll be there, the whole world will be there.”

Characteristics

The two are the world’s first customisable mascots. They were formed from the last girder of the Olympic Stadium. Their magical skins are made of highly polished steel allowing them to reflect the personalities and appearances of the people they meet. They have cameras for eyes filming all of their adventures and London taxi headlights with the first letter of their name “W” for Wenlock and “M” for Mandeville.

About Wenlock

Wenlock’s name is inspired by Much Wenlock in Shropshire, England which held a forerunner to the Modern Olympic games. He has 5 friendship bracelets on his wrist. Each bracelet takes the colour of an Olympic ring. The three points on his head represent the three places on the podium. The pattern on his body with the logo of the games symbolises the whole world coming to London in 2012. The shape on the front of his head represents the shape of the Olympic stadium roof. In the run-up to the games Wenlock hopes to make as many friends as possible and always looks on the bright side of life.

About Mandeville

Mandeville’s name comes from the town Stoke Mandeville in Buckinghamshire, England which held The Stoke Mandeville Games, the inspiration for the Paralympics. Mandeville wears a pink stopwatch on his wrist which on models reads 0:20:12. His helmet like head with three points coloured blue, red and green represents the agitos, the Paralympic Symbol.

Reception

In response to their launch the UKs leading design publication Creative Review had this to say “Both are clearly of the digital age. And we have to say, we think they look rather good…”. In other quarters their design has been greeted with some disdain. One columnist theorized that the pair were the product of a “drunken one-night stand between a Teletubby and a Dalek“. Others have compared the mascots to Izzy, the mascot of the 1996 Summer Olympics, another critically panned mascot. However it has been reported that children of the target audience (5 to 15 years) find the duo enjoyable.

~ by superbowlnyc on January 30, 2011.

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