VANCOUVER 2010 WINTER OLYMPICS | THE LOOK OF THE GAMES :: MASCOTS ::: MIGA QUATCHI SUMI + MUKMUK
I think that a lot of jaws dropped when the Olympic Mascots were unveiled:
Response to designs
Many respondents on the CBC.ca forums complained that the characters were poorly designed, and objected to the anime influence. One early commenter posted: ‘these mascots do represent BC very well … someone must have been smoking A LOT of BC Bud when they created these things. Maybe the dealer was that marmot that no one can see.’
Yet, over time, I think that these critters have won the hearts of Olympic fans worldwide.
When they were introduced to the world in 2007, the National Post had this to say about them:
None of the three mascots actually exist in real life: Miga the Sea Bear is a combination of an orca and a sea otter. Sumi, the Paralympic mascot, is a Thunderbird but looks more like a bear with wings.
And Quatchi is the first Sasquatch in history to actually make an appearance before human beings.
As for Mukmuk, it’s actually the only real animal. But the committee said it isn’t really a mascot and will only make appearances on its Web site.
I love them all. I think that they are adorable little creatures that resonate strongly with the West Coast Look of the Games.
Apparently, Quatchi is the big hit of the three “real” and one “virtual” mascots:
Quatchi has a Facebook fan page, impersonators on Twitter and two blogs following his every move. One, Quatchi Watch, was created by Seattle couple Steve Mandich and Eliza Truit, after meeting Quatchi on a trip to Vancouver last September.
‘I’m interested in sasquatch to begin with,’ Mr. Mandich says. ‘Who doesn’t love a smiling fuzz ball with earmuffs?’
Says Ms. Truitt: ‘He combines the irresistible cuteness of Hello Kitty with the mysterious intrigue of Bigfoot.
His bashfulness and shyness are a nice contrast to the usual mascot machismo.’
– Shawna Richer, “We love you, Quatchi. Oh yes, we do,” The Globe and Mail 19 February 2010
I’m rather partial to the virtual Mukmuk. He’s Mr. Potato Head revisited for the 21st century:
Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head. Photo: Andy Green
Mr. Green had this to say about Mrs. Potato Head:
Clinton, Green says, seemed ‘distant,’ ‘cold,’ ‘fake.’
‘Look at her photo with Mr. Potato Head. She’s really smiling, but it looks like a really forced smile. It’s only because I told her she’s one of the last ones to have her photo taken.’
Meanwhile, Obama, Green says, was ‘engaging,’ ‘open,’ ‘just like one of us.’
– Jose Antonio Vargas, ” As the Iowa Caucuses Near, This Guy is a Hot Potato,” Washington Post, 1 January 2008
But I digress. Back to Mukmuk and his friends:
One thing that I like about these mascots is the variety; there’s a choice and together, appropriately, they form a team. They are an essential element of The Look of the Games and the selling of the games.
Here are the mascots’ bios (click on the screenshots to enlarge):
(for more photos, please visit my Flickr set, 2010 Vancouver Souvenirs):
The mascots were designed by Meomi Design (“A Little Design Studio Dedicated to Play, Delight, and Goodliness”) of Vancouver and Los Angeles. They were selected from 171 entries from around the world.
Meomi Design: Michael Murphy (Los Angeles) and Vicki Wong (Vancouver)
The late Leo Obstbaum (Design Director for the games) and colleague working hard on perfecting the mascot plush toys:
This is what Obstbaum had to say about previous games’ mascots:
What are your favourite Olympic or Paralympic mascots? How and why?
My favourites have been the most controversial and avant garde. I love Waldi (Munich 1972), which totally reflected that era of design, and was very simple.
Amik (Montreal 1976), is the best representation of the beaver I’ve seen … I love it for its minimalism. It is still very contemporary, though it may not have enough personality for today’s mascots.
And Cobi (Barcelona 1992) was great because he was cheeky, avant garde, and triggered big differences of opinion in Barcelona, but in the end became one of the most popular mascots in history.
I love Aster, the Torino 2006 Paralympic mascot, for the concept and how it related to the Olympic mascots.
The mascots’ official website:
Queuing patiently to purchase souvenirs at The Bay the night before the games began
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- 2010/02/21 / 11:53
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