This year’s Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics sees two futuristic fox-like creatures as mascots after Japanese schoolchildren voted for the characters as their favorites from a shortlist.
The characters, dubbed Miraitowa and Someity, look relatively friendly – something that can’t often be said for previous mascots.
Ridiculous mascots have been a tradition of the Olympics since 1968, when the world was presented to Schuss in Grenoble, France.
Sold as a souvenir at the Games, the toy – an unofficial mascot – proved popular despite being likened to “sperm on skis”.
Following Schuss’s success, the Olympic organizers agreed that future Games could also have mascots, resulting in a long line of bizarre motives to honor the sporting event.
Out of 51 Olympics, there were 26 to feature a mascot of a certain type.
From the bizarre Wenlock and Mandeville of London 2012, which looked like random shapes of steel, to the oddly shaped Phevos and Athena dolls that appeared in Athens in 2004, FEMAIL is reminiscent of the most ridiculous Olympic mascots…
Schuss in Grenoble, France, 1968
Shuss (pictured) was the first “character” created for the Games. The character was available in a variety of items – such as key chains, pins, magnets, watches and even in an inflatable version.
Shuss was the first “character” created for the Games, aimed at encouraging children to get involved while watching the sporting event.
Featuring a person on skis, the top of their large two-tone head, which rested on a single, zigzag-shaped foot, typically featured the Olympic rings.
Designer Aline Lafargue only had one night to prepare a plan to submit to the Olympic Winter Games committee in Grenoble in 1968.
The character was available in a variety of items – such as key chains, pins, magnets, watches, and even an inflatable version.
Amik Le Castor in Montreal, Canada, 1976
For Canada’s first-ever Olympics, organizers chose a beaver as their mascot – hoping the stuffed animals featuring the character would be a hit with fans
For Canada’s first-ever Olympics, organizers chose a beaver as their mascot, hoping the plush toys featuring the character would be a hit with fans.
Amik represented the Montreal Olympics in 1976, and while the animal makes sense in terms of being Canadian and rooted in the country’s history, some critics have suggested the idea was uninspired.
A national competition was held in Canada to come up with a name for the mascot, Amik meaning “beaver” in Algonquin, a language common among the Aboriginal peoples of Canada.
Amik appears with a red stripe, symbolizing the ribbons traditionally used for winners’ medals, and embellished with the Montreal Games logo.
Izzy in Atlanta, United States, 1996
Izzy’s name comes from the phrase “Whatizit?” Because no one seemed to know exactly what Izzy really was (pictured)
Izzy’s name comes from the phrase “Whatizit?” Because no one seemed to know exactly what Izzy really was.
After the closing ceremony of the 1992 Games in Barcelona, where it received a mixed reception during its first presentation, Whatizit was redesigned and renamed by the children of Atlanta.
The character was given a mouth rather than thin lips, stars appeared in his eyes, and his initially lean legs became more muscular. Finally, a nose has been added to the mascot’s face.
Wearing training shoes, the five Olympic rings were placed in various positions around the character’s body.
The computer-generated morph has come under heavy criticism, while others have suggested that the unknown creature is a perfect representation for a city that often struggles to forge an identity, according to the New York Times.
Sukki, Nokki, Lekki and Tsukki in Nagano, Japan, 1998
For the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics, Japan decided to create not one but four mascots, Sukki, Nokki, Lekki and Tsukki (pictured)
For the Nagano 1998 Winter Olympics, Japan decided to create not one but four mascots, Sukki, Nokki, Lekki and Tsukki.
Known as the “snows,” the vibrant owls represented the classic four elements, air, water, earth, and fire.
Originally, the Nagano Games mascot was going to be a weasel called “Snowple”, but instead it was changed to owls to showcase “wisdom”.
The company responsible for the mascot design is the same company that created the Atlanta Games torch in 1996 and also participated in the Salt Lake City 2002 mascot training.
Athena and Phevos in Athens, Greece, 2004
The two figures (pictured) used, labeled Athena and Phevos, were brother and sister and owed their odd shape to a traditional terracotta doll from the 7th century BC.
Athens hosted the Summer Olympics in 2004 and embraced history with its bizarre looking mascots.
The two figures used, labeled Athena and Phevos, were brother and sister and owed their odd shape to a traditional terracotta doll from the 7th century BC. AD, modeled on a bell.
They were named after two Olympian gods, Phevos being another nickname for Apollo, god of light and music, and Athena being the goddess of wisdom and protector of Athens.
Phevos wore a blue tunic to represent the sea, while Athena wore orange for the sun.
A competition to design the mascots was held and 196 ideas were submitted, with Spiros Gogos, Paragraph Design, being the chosen designer.
Neve and Gliz in Turin, Italy, 2006
Neve and Gliz (pictured) aimed to represent the “fundamental elements necessary for the success of the Games”
You’d be forgiven for wondering exactly what these characters featured at the 2006 Turin Winter Olympics were meant to be.
But Neve and Gliz aimed to represent the “fundamentals necessary for the Games to be successful,” the former being a “flowing” snowball and the latter an icicle suggesting “power,” according to the Olympics website.
“Neve” means snow in Italian, while “Gliz” comes from the word for ice, “ghiaccio”.
They were created by Portuguese designer Pedro Albuquerque, who was chosen the winner of an international competition, launched three years before the start of the Games.
Wenlock and Mandeville in London, England, 2012
the eerie drop-like creatures named Wenlock and Mandeville (pictured) were the mascots for the 2012 London Olympics and Paralympics respectively
They only had one pair of eyes between them and looked like Sonic the Hedgehog crossed with a character from the Disney Monsters Inc. movie.
But the strange, drop-like creatures named Wenlock and Mandeville were the mascots for the 2012 London Olympics and Paralympics, respectively.
Wenlock takes its name from the town of Much Wenlock in Shropshire where, in the mid-19th century, the Wenlock Games became the inspiration for the modern Olympic movement.
The name Mandeville is derived from Stoke Mandeville, Buckinghamshire, which is home to the Stoke Mandeville Hospital. In the 1940s, Dr. Ludwig Guttmann came to the hospital to set up a spine unit.
Seeking ways to inspire the soldiers he serves, he created the Stoke Mandeville Games, widely recognized as the precursors of the modern Paralympic Games.
Based on steel drops and featuring only one eye each, the less than cuddly mascots Wenlock and Mandeville were designed to symbolize the 2012 Games with their Olympic Ring-inspired friendship bracelets, and featured a twinkle. eye to the capital in the form of London. taxi lights’ on their heads.
Tokyo unveils Miraitowa and Someity as mascots for 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games
The official mascots for the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games are Miraitowa and Someity, respectively.
Miraitowa is a combination of the Japanese words for future and eternity while Someity comes from a popular cherry blossom variety “Someiyoshino” and translates to the English phrase “so powerful”.
The official mascots for the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games are Miraitowa and Someity, respectively (pictured)
Both mascot designs were selected by school children across Japan.
“These mascots are your friends,” Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee Chairman Yoshiro Mori said at a ceremony featuring the characters.
“You helped choose them and across the country I believe 5 million kids helped choose this. And the name is also something that we have chosen together. So these Olympics belong to everyone.