This being the eve of the winter Olympics, my mind wandered to one of my favorite sub-stories of any Olympiad, which of course would be the mascots and the design process behind them. Specifically, however, I began to wonder… whatever happens to the mascots of FAILED Olympic bids. Is there a losers’ bracket? Are they banished to mascot purgatory? Do they get to apply again for future games?
If there is in fact a penalty box for mascots, the dude above is surely in it. Pictured here is the mascot for Prague’s spectacularly unsuccessful bid for the 2016 games (cue ABC’s famous “Thrill of victory, agony of defeat” vignette). Okay, normally this creation would be comically bad. I would describe the beast as Sasquatch meets Mr. Hanky- the singing fecal stool from “South Park”- with a tasty little dash of the TV show “Cops” thrown in there for good measure, given that we have a rogue character chasing something or running from someone, in his underwear and a white undershirt of course. He should get tackled and wrestled to the ground by local law enforcement any minute. “Bad boys bad boys, whatcha gonna do…”
Except this mascot is not that funny to me. Actually, to the contrary, it is absolutely terrifying for some reason… looks like something out of a nightmare. It might mess me up for <expletive> life if I spend too much more time looking at it. I guess the Prague planning group must get some solace in knowing that at least the members of the review committee will pay for rejecting them with hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of psychotherapy bills.
In any event, the Olympics have had some neat mascots over the years. A little weird for sure, but that’s usually a good thing in character design, mostly. Over the coming weeks, whenever you see Vancouver’s mascots (below), just thank your lucky stars that they are so friendly.
From now on, here is the rule in designing mascots for Olympic bids. If being chased by this creature in real life would cause unspeakable fear and surely land you in therapy if you even survived the encounter, and if the thing looks like it might have been created by Stanley Kubrick for a hypothetical “Clockwork Orange: The Sequel,” then said mascot might not be too helpful to your city’s Olympic bid.