World unites online against London's Olympic mascots
Vancouver Sun May 20, 2010
London's 2012 mascots are Wenlock (left) and Mandeville.
Photograph by: Suzanne Plunkett, Reuters, Vancouver Sun
Remember back a few months when the British press branded our Olympics the Worst Games Ever, before the first weekend had even passed?
Well, in what could only be a bid to wrestle that title away from us -- in case our record-setting 14 gold medals and vibrant downtown core didn't already make their words seem ridiculous -- organizers of the 2012 Games in London on Wednesday introduced their Olympic mascots to the world.
Meet Wenlock and Mandeville, one-eyed creatures immediately dubbed "patronizing rubbish" by design experts in Britain.
Moulded from steel left over from the last girder on the Olympic stadium, London's 2012 mascots are neither cuddly nor cute but organizers say the gleaming one-eyed metallic forms will strike a chord with children.
"What is it about these Games which seems to drive the organizers into the embrace of this kind of patronizing, cretinous infantilism?" asked British design critic Stephen Bayley.
"Why can't we have something that makes us sing with pride, instead of these appalling computerized Smurfs for the iPhone generation? If the Games are going to be remembered by their art then we can declare them a calamitous failure already."
Wenlock and Mandeville were introduced after 18 months of planning to come up with a merchandising gimmick that will keep the cash tills ringing; Games organizers are aiming for $23.8 million in revenue from Olympics memorabilia.
Despite their alien-like forms and disturbing resemblance to partly blinded Teletubbies, 2012 organizers say the mascots recognize Britain's Olympic heritage.
Wenlock is named after the village of Much Wenlock, where Pierre de Coubertin visited in 1890 and where his idea for a modern Olympics was born, while Mandeville is named after the Stoke Mandeville Hospital where the Paralympic movement began shortly after the Second World War.
Wenlock and Mandeville both have one large eye, representing a camera lens so they can record what they see. They cannot speak, they don't smile and their features are borrowed from London's iconic taxis.
It's safe to say 2010 mascot Quatchi could kick their alien butts, with no help from fellow mascots Miga, Sumi or Mukmuk.
Reaction on the Internet was predictably dour, with a tidal wave of tweets twittering away about the mouthless pair's many faults:
- "Make your own Olympic mascots by simply scrunching silver foil into two completely random shapes." -- VizTopTips
- "Worst Olympic mascots ever. I may have to skip those games just to avoid those creepy blobs. New Olympic Record for ugly!" -- Crayonbeam London 2012
- "Olympic mascots: Chuckle Brothers as drawn by Dali when on acid after not sleeping for 4 days." -- Robinbogg
- "I, for one welcome our new Olympic mascot overlords." -- Jonnypage
- "What the ...? The London Olympic mascots look like alien lobsters." -- docdez
- "London hoping to raise $21M by selling one-eyed Olympic mascots to children. What am I missing here?" -- darrenrovell1
- "Olympic Mascots exceed all unexpectations. Designed by a weird big-headed grandpa in a shed." -- wonkyshop
- "Hey London! Your Olympic mascots are like shiny pee-stained robots with asparagus hands." -- thisisnation
- "Olympic mascots .... Nothing says Dynamic World City like aliens with poor depth perception." -- Tigerstolly
- "Further evidence that London's Olympic organizers are heavy recreational drug users." -- electricmeat
- "Just seen the new Olympic mascots. I love them for all the wrong reasons. They look like murderous cycloptic Teletubbies." -- BenBo92
Comments added to stories about the mascots were just as negative:
- My eight year old looked at them and pulled a face. Having followed the Winter Olympics in Vancouver we expected so much better."
- God have some mercy! Is there anything uglier than those two things? Who in their right mind created these?!
- These are so embarrassingly cringeworthy -they look like they are wetting themselves.
- My god, what on Earth were they thinking when designing the 2012 Olympic mascots! really that is bad!
- These embarrassing, humourless, banal and ultimately sinister characters, with their all-seeing single camera eye, have no spark, no imagination and no heart.
- And you took the piss with our Olympics? -Todd From Vancouver
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