Has anyone been watching the Olympics? Me neither, but I managed to catch the opening ceremony. There's nothing quite like a Totalitarian Communist Nation successfully distracting the world from its atrocities with a massive highly artistic and synchronized spectacle. When you thought the ceremony wouldn't get more over the top, the last torch runner flies through the air and "runs" a lap around the rim of the stadium before lighting the torch.
But that's not what I wish to talk about today. Blog buddy DC recently posted an entry where the 5 mascots of the current Olympics are creeping the hell out of her.
The mascots in question:
I couldn't agree more. Not much as creepy as just plain Weird and suitable from the Chinese. If I know my Olympics, each panda bear thing represents each Olympic ring, with the red guy in the middle symbolizing the Olympic Flame. I don't trust the yellow one a single bit. The picture makes it look likes my favorite color, orange. Also, Beijing is attempting to convince me that it's symbolizing an Antelope. Hooray, Antelope. It's hiding something from me, I just know it. Possibly some sort of mysterious liquid to put in my Coca-cola.
You know that these mascots suck when I not only do not know their names, I won't even bother looking them up.
But then again, compared to Olympic mascots of the past, this warped Sentai team seem almost decent.
I'm sure everyone remembers Izzy, the bizarre mascot from the 1996 Atlanta Games. Unlike mascots of years past, Izzy was the first mascot to not resemble anything, being referred to as a "Whatisit." As his story goes, he was a being who lived in a world located inside the Olympic Torch and was able to shape shift as well.
Yeah. The reasons why anyone remembers Izzy at all besides being downright weird, it was because he starred in a one-shot cartoon titled "Izzy's Quest For Olympic Gold." It explained the back story of Izzy wishing to compete in the Earth Olympics, and must symbolically gain the 5 Olympic Rings in order to travel to Earth from his Torchworld. In short, it was awful, but sadly there's no Youtube evidence of this even occurring. It was all thanks to Wikipedia that reassured me that there was a special made to begin with and that I didn't imagine it. Because if I did, I wouldn't be here blogging, just locked up in an insane asylum.
Then again, either scenario would have amounted to the current state of affairs that you're reading right now.
For other folks, Izzy is remembered through the video game adaptation of said special: "Izzy's Quest For The Olympic Rings."
Some (or most) of you might be aware that Izzy was not the first Olympic Mascot to star in his own cartoon, nor was he the last. Check out this strange toon starring the Beijing mascots:
Lame, and a bit creepy, but it doesn't seem like it sucks. Perhaps it's a good thing that I can't speak Chinese. This is what would happen if the Japanese got a hold on these characters:
Kidding aside...when Nagano, Japan hosted the Winter Olympics back in 1998, we got these guys:
Meet the Snowlets. I can imagine either a 5 year old or a 35 year old Japanese animator came up with these guys. One of these things is not like the others...one of these things is just a Batman Head with stick legs. Can you guess which one?
Speaking of the Winter Games, the first actual Olympics Mascot was for the Winter Edition:
Schuss, from the 1968 Grenoble games. A lollipop with skis seemed to be an ideal mascot for Winter Olympics. I've also just realized that he could be skiing through a uterus. Holy crap, no wonder why he was only an unofficial mascot. Clearly, it was all downhill from there.
Torino, what the hell were you people thinking? Such spawn of ice and snow shouldn't even exist outside of animation. If the Chinese Things & Snowlets didn't creep the hell out of you, these guys will.
It doesn't really help that they came 2 years after the 2004 Athens mascots. If Doug Funnie had taken a dip into acid and decided to become a sex toy, this would be the result.
At least Salt Lake City's mascots were lame & forgettable. I had completely forgotten who they were until I began my research.
What the hell was it about America's mascots being totally lame?
Here's the 1980 Lake Placid, NY mascot. The site of the "Miracle" hockey game. I've actually been to Lake Placid, and that bastard fits right in with the place.
I still can't believe that we waited until the 1984 L.A. Summer Games to roll out a Sam The Eagle mascot. Did they not realize that he would have been more appropriate 8 years earlier in 1976?
What's that, Canada? You say you have better mascots than the USA? Well, let's just see about that.
Speaking of 1976, Montreal's turn at the Summer Games were represented by this guy:
Amik, a beaver. Hmm...Beaver: Cool animal, Kickass houses, Canada's equivalent of the Eagle? Overall, a pretty decent mascot. Ok, you guys win this time.
Wait a sec, who do we have here?! Representing Calgary in 1988, they are Hidy and Howdy. The term "America, Jr." has not been more fitting than for these 2 Canadian mascots. They can't decide whether or not to be a little bit country, OR a little bit rock & roll. They would have been spared if they dressed as Mounties, but nope, had to be Cowboys. Or whatever it is that Don Cherry wears.
Also, I hear Vancouver is next in line to host the Winter Games in 2010. Let's check out their mascots, shall we?
Jibblies. That creature on the left is actually an "animal spirit" and it is actually the Paralympics mascot. It's the first time that the Olympic and Paralympic mascots are within the same continuity as each other.
You know what? I'm done writing for now, just get back to me in two years to see my take on these things. Just watch this video and prepare to not sleep again: