It’s Wenlock and Mandeville.
While most advertisers have sponsored the Olympics or the US Teams, the London games have traditional mascots that are anything but. Recently depicted and reviewed in the Huffington Post, these little creatures are reported to be utilizing a lot of symbols to endear themselves to visitors and Brits alike – everything from the friendship bands that are the colors of the Olympic rings to the head light that bears resemblance to London taxis. They are said to be made from the last drops of steel left over from the final support girder for the London Olympic Stadium.
And what’s more, the more controversial component of the icons are their single camera-like eyeball that will watch (and record?) all the action and excitement.
Their names, as noted in the aforementioned reports is historic too: Wenlock is named for a town that helped encourage the contemporary Olympic games and Mandeville honors the hospital considered the origin of the Paralympic Games. (It appears it is now the fashion to honor both games at once – always with at least a pair of mascots.) However, it’s now a question of whether or not visitors find them quite cute or quite odd – especially their lack of fingers, feet and well, faces.
To date there have been many unusual icons – often developed years prior to the start of a host city’s Olympic games. Yahoo recently detailed them, including (1996) Atlanta’s Olympic Games Mascot – Izzy (the reported first computer generated icon) to (2000) Sydney Australia’s Olley, (Olympics) Syd, (Sydney) Millie (Millennium) trio of native animals, (2004) Greece’s archeological dolls Athena and Phevos and (2008) Beijing’s “good luck dolls” a fivesome supposedly representing the Olympic rings and Feng Shui -- essentials of Chinese life and culture.
But because Olympic characters attempt to act not only as symbols of their country and the games in their era, they must have a component of cuddly that brands this event and can sell a lot of Olympic merchandise to boot.
In 2012 London’s case, more than a few writers have noted the way Wenlock and Mandeville seem to look like cameras, foreshadowing the security emphasis placed on these games.
It’s all interpretive, of course, and the sales are to come. But the Olympic marketers know the saying all too well, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.