Quatchi, Miga and Sumi: The honor of Olympic mascots is restored
The official website of the Vancouver 2010 Olympics describes them as follows (textual citation): "Each of the creatures is distinct and special – both in personality and in appearance. One is big, gentle and shy . . . one is small, mischievous and outgoing . . . and one is a natural-born leader with a passion for protecting the environment. All three are mythical creatures with roots in local legend. One is a sasquatch. One is a sea-bear. And one is an animal guardian spirit. They are all, to say the least, unique".
These cute winter characters, along with the five mascots that will represent the 2008 summer Olympics in Beijing (named Beibei, Jingjing, Huanhuan, Yingying and Nini -picture below-) come to recover the pride of nice, cool and beautiful mascots to represent Olympic games that was almost unseen since the unveiling of Cobi, a dog character created for the 1992 summer Olympics in Barcelona.Just for fun, let's take a look at the mascots that represented the Olympic games after Barcelona 1992, and until Torino 2006, to emphasize the real value of the mascots for both Beijing 2008 and Vancouver 2010:
Izzy was a dizzy blue thunder, or something like that, which was chosen to be the mascot for the 1996 Olympic games in Atlanta, USA. It was the first-ever Olympic mascot to be computer-created. Heck, why did they use a computer for that? Maybe a hand made design would have been better.
These beautiful long-nosed, yellow-eyed owls were named Sukki, Nokki, Lekki and Tsukki, and were the official mascots for the 1998 winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan. These creatures couldn't be uglier. If real owls understood that those characters were a representation of their species, they wouldn't have hesitated to sue the Olympic Committee.
Olly, Syd and Millie are a kookaburra, a platypus and an echidna, respectively. They were the official mascots of the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia. Although they are not as ugly as most of their predecessors, the creative execution here was not outstanding. The final product was just that: A kookaburra, a platypus and an echidna with no "Olympics touch" whatsoever.
Powder, Coal and Copper were a hare, a coyote and a bear, respectively. They were the mascots for the 2002 winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, USA. These characters were pretty decent to be Olympic mascots: their design was funny and friendly. No real complaint about them, they appeared as an oasis in the middle of the dessert in a period of time when the Olympics were throwing everything but nice mascots to the market.
These deformed (human?) creatures, named Athena and Phevos, were probably inspired in Bigfoot. These things were the mascots of the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece. I don't think they deserve any further description here, as their image speaks by itself.
Neve and Gliz were a bodied snow scoop and a bodied ice cube, respectively. I suspect that the organizing committee entrusted the creation of mascots to kindergarten children. If that was the case, then it was a nice try by the kids, else... they were just horrible characters that got somehow to be the official mascots for the 2006 winter Olympics in Torino, Italy.
Thankfully, most of the creatures shown above were left somewhere in the memories of the Olympic games. It looks that the organizers of future Olympics are putting more effort in creating characters that attract more people to identify themselves with the Olympic games. The mascots will also help to increase the revenues obtained from the games, which will eventually benefit the host communities.
I welcome Sumi, Quatchi and Miga, along with Beibei, Jingjing, Huanhuan, Yingying and Nini. We'll be hearing more and more from them in the upcoming months for sure.
With some information from the official websites of the Vancouver 2010 Olympics and Beijing 2008 Olympics.