Olympic mascots

One of the many traditions of the modern Olympics is that each Games have its own mascot. Meet the madcap mascots of the Games.

One of the many traditions of the modern Olympics is that each Games have its own mascot (sometimes more than one). Many have been cuddly, but some are a bit... weird. Take a look at the history of Olympic mascots. The Rio 2016 Olympic mascots debuted Nov. 23, 2014, inspired by Brazilian fauna and flora. The one on the left "is a mixture of different Brazilian animals, blessed with their many qualities: the agility of the cats, the sway of the monkeys, the grace of the birds." The tree creature is designed to represent Paralympic athletes. "He is transforming all the time." Their names will be decided through a public vote.

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The Olympic mascots are seen during a welcome ceremony for the Japanese delegation prior to the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, at the Coastal Olympic Village in Sochi, Russia on Feb. 2.

Robert Cianflone / Getty Images Europe

The mascots of the London games are supposedly drops of molten steel with cameras for eyes. Mandeville is named after the English village of Stoke Mandeville, where the first Paralympic Games were held; Wenlock is named after another village, Much Wenlock, which set up a forerunner to the modern Olympics back in 1850.

Will Oliver / AFP

The mascots for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada, came from Canadian mythology. Miga (left) was part killer whale and part kermode bear; Quatchi (center) was a friendly sasquatch (as in Bigfoot), and Sumi (right) was an animal guardian spirit. The trio also had a sidekick, not shown: Mukmuk, a Vancouver Island marmot.

Jonathan Hayward

Collectively known as the Fuwa (Chinese for "good luck dolls"), the five mascots of the Beijing Olympics corresponded to the five Olympic rings, as well as to five Feng Shui elements. From left, there was Nini, a swallow; Yingying, a Tibetan antelope; Huanhuan, the Olympic flame; Beibei, a fish, and Jinging, a giant panda. The five names form the Chinese phrase "Beijing huan ying ni," which means "Beijing welcomes you."

Jamie Squire / Getty Images AsiaPac

From left, the mascots of the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy were Neve, a snowball, and Gliz, an ice cube. The chilly chums were designed by Pedro Albuquerque.

Vladimir Rys / Bongarts

The 2004 Summer Games in Athens, ancient birthplace of the Olympics, brought us sibling mascots with enormous feet: Athena (left) and her brother Phevos. They represent two modern children resembling ancient Greek dolls.

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From left, Copper, a coyote; Powder, a snowshoe hare, and Coal, an American black bear, each wore a charm with their image. All three animals are indigenous to Utah, and major characters in Native American legend. They are named after natural resources important to Utah's economy.

Matthew Stockman / Getty Images North America

From left, MIllie, an echidna; Syd, a platypus, and Ollie, a kookaburra, were three native animals chosen as mascots for the Sydney 2000 Games. They represented earth, water and air, respectively.

Williiam West / AFP

The mascots for the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan. were the four owls called Snowlets: Sukki, Nokki, Lekki and Tsukki. The owls represented the four major islands of Japan. So few Snowlets stuffed animals were made that by the second week of the Games, attendees were frantic to find them.

Eric Draper / AP

The mascot of the 1996 Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta was an abstract fantasy figure. It was called "Izzy", derived from "Whatizit?" because no one seemed to know exactly what "Izzy" really was.

Michel Gangne / AFP

The 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway, brought us mascots Kristin and Hakon: Two Norwegian children dressed in Viking clothes.

Mike Powell / Getty Images Europe

Spaniards did not immediately take to Cobi, a cubist-style Catalan sheepdog designed by Barcelona cartoonist Javier Mariscal. But the mascot's popularity slowly grew, and by the end of the Games he was loved both in Spain and around the world.

Amicar De Leon / AP

Hodori, the mascot of the 1988 Summer Games in Seoul, South Korea, portrayed the friendly side of a tiger, which is present in many Korean legends. The "Ho" comes from the Korean word for tiger, and "Dori" is a common masculine diminutive. The streamer on his hat in the shape of an S stood for Seoul.

Polar bears Hidy and Howdy, mascots for the 1988 Winter Games in Calgary, were designed by Sheila Scott to represent Western Canadian hospitality.

Mike Powell / Getty Images Europe

What could be more American than a bald eagle and Uncle Sam? That's why Sam, a bald eagle, was designed by Robert Moore (from The Walt Disney Company) for the 1984 Summer Olympics in L.A.

Tony Duffy / Getty Images Europe

As the eagle is to the U.S., so was the bear to the U.S.S.R. Hence Misha the bear cub was designed by Victor Chizhikov and selected as the mascot for the 1980 Moscow Olympics.

Hulton Archive

A snowman named Schneemann was chosen to be the official mascot for the 1976 Winter Olympic Games in Innsbruck, Austria. "Schnee" is German for "snow."


One of Canada’s most distinctive mammals, the beaver, was chosen as the mascot for the Summer Games of Montreal in 1976. Unfortunately, some strange choices were made for Amik the beaver's design: Over the years he’s been described as everything from flattened roadkill to a bad mullet.

Waldi, the mascot of the 1972 Munich Games, was the first official Olympic mascot. A dachshund, chosen to represent athletic tenacity and agility, Waldi had a light blue head and vertical stripes with at least three of the five Olympic colors.