Mascots can be a person, animal or created creature considered to give people good fortune. They also represent some cultural and traditional aspects of the group and country and are intended to carry that message of culture across other cultures. The word ‘mascot’ originally comes from French words ‘masco’ or ‘mascotte’ which means sorceress and used to describe things that bring luck to a household. In sports world, mascots are also used as marketing tools especially aimed at children. In this page, I will introduce you some cute mascots in international sports events where they were held in UK, Germany and Austria.
One of the world foremost sports competitions, the Olympic Games, did not have a mascot until 1972. The first official mascot for the Summer Olympic Games was showed in Munich, Germany. This mascot was called Waldi. He was a dachshund, a popular breed in Germany. Waldi was designed to represent resistance, tenacity and agility as some attributes required for athletes. The different colors on Waldi are matched to the colors of Olympic ring, while black and red were excluded on purpose by its German designer Otl Aicher as they are related to the National Socialist Party.
Recently, we had Wenlock and Mandeville for 2012 Summer Olympics and Paralympics in London. Mandeville represents friendship. The three spikes on his helmet represent the Paralympic Agitos. Wenlock also represents friendship with five rings that correspond to the five Olympic rings. His helmet represents the shape of the Olympic Stadium. There are also anime and comic strips in which they are the protagonists. The story is about their birth and experience with people. The last episode of the anime ‘Rainbow to the Games’ shows the whole world coming to London before the Games begin.
For the most widely viewed and followed sports event in the world, the World Cup got its first mascot earlier than the Olympic Games. It was in 1966 that a lion called Willie came from England and caused a little fashion boom at that time. Some people worried at first that Willie’s costume might cause the Conservatives’s disagreement, but Willie was very popular since the first minute he appeared. His hairstyle is based on young British man’s fashion. His clothes with national flag pattern were followed by thousand of England people. His hair color is between gray and white, which indicates solemnity and authority. They all represented the status of its host country of England. Because Willie was so popular and accepted by sports fan all over the world, it made mascots an integral part of the World Cup experience. Mascots will, from that point onward, represent the essence of a country while it becomes the focus of the word during the four weeks of the tournament.
The FIFA World Cup was held in Germany on two occasions, first in 1974 (West Germany) and again in 2006, with accompanying mascots. Tip and Tap from West Germany were the first and the only human mascot pairs in World Cup history. One of them is short and fat while the other one is tall and thin. They have beautiful smily faces showing they welcome people from the all over the world. They are wearing shirts with words which means Weltmeisterschaft, World Cup and 1974. In 2006, German made a lion and a football to became the first living mascots of the game. Before they appeared, the first ten mascots of the World Cup are all cartoon marks. So GoleoVI, the dancing lion and Pille, the talking football really gave people a large surprise. Some people disapproved of the fact that Goleo does not wear pants, that a lion is not a representative animal of Germany and that Pille’s name also means doping, all issues that might portray an inaccurate image of Germany. GoleoVI and his pair Pille were still lovely in the view of most of fans and proved to be successful in greeting football fans during a very joyous and peaceful tournament.
For the events held in Austria, mascots are also very cute. Just after 1972’s Summer Olympic Games in Munich, the Winter Olympics were held in Innsbruck, Austria. A snowman called Schneemann was the mascot. It represents games of simplicity. It is also the first official Winter Olympic mascot. Its hat is a typical hat worn in Tyrol, where Innsbruck is located. The public’s opinion of this was somewhat divided, but its financial success was indisputable. In 2008, Austria and Switzerland held the UEFA European Cup. Their mascots are twins, this set represents the two host countries. Their names are Trix and Flix. Their hairstyle is the shape of mountains in Austria and Switzerland. Their shirts are white and red which are also the colors of the national flags of the two countries.
These mascots are very popular and despite the importance of the message they convey, they are designed in a simple manner with bright, happy colors appropriate for the ‘festive’ atmosphere of those events. I strongly recommend two short videos from youtube. They are collection of World Cup mascots and some Olympic mascots.
- The Evolution of the Olympic Mascot | Faster Higher Stronger
- World Cup mascots on Coca Cola cans
By Wanming Ding