Meet Your Rio 2016 Olympics Mascots

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Step aside, World Cup Willie!

With the FIFA World Cup now behind Brazil, the Rio de Janeiro organizing committee has unveiled the mascot(s) for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

The smiling yellow feline-like critter on the left—representing Brazilian fauna—will represent the main games.

The cheeky blue chap with leafy shrubbery for hair—meant to evoke Brazil’s lush flora—will represent the Paralympic Games.

The mascots’ names will be selected by a poll from the following name pairs (Olympics/Paralympics): Vinicius/Tom; Oba/Eba (our vote); or Tiba Tuque/Esquindim.

So how do Rio’s rate in the rich pantheon of Olympics mascots over the years?[more]

Mascot: Wenlock and Mandeville

Games: 2012—London

Bio: Requiring 18 months and 40-plus focus groups to develop, London’s mascots were meant to evoke the city’s iconic taxis and the London Eye. The New York Times called the pair “science-fiction versions of Gumby” while London’s own Telegraph deemed them “patronising rubbish.”

WTF Factor: 9

Spirit of the Games Factor: 3

Overall Score: 2

Mascot: The Bear, The Hare, The Leopard

Games: 2012—Sochi

Bio: This trio won a telephone poll against challengers such as Russian Santa Claus, a dolphin and a family of nesting dolls. Accusations of poll rigging were raised after Vladimir Putin’s favorite—The Leopard—received the most votes. But all are rather reserved when compared to one of Sochi’s original mascots, a tripped out blue frog named Zoich (also above). Oh, what could have been.

WTF Factor: 1

Spirit of the Games Factor: 8

Overall Score: 5

Mascot: Athena and Phevos

Games: 2004—Greece

Bio: Meant to evoke ancient Greek dolls, some called these twins “genitalia,” while others questioned if they were “melted Bart Simpson dolls.” But more than being indescribable, their lack of athleticism makes London’s Wenlock and Mandeville look like gold medal biathletes.

WTF Factor: 9

Spirit of the Games Factor: 2

Overall Score: 2

Mascot: Sam

Games: 2004—Los Angeles

Bio: With Disney-designer pedigree, nothing was more American—when that meant something—than Sam the Olympic Eagle.

WTF Factor: 3

Spirit of the Games Factor: 9

Overall Score: 7

Mascot: Amik

Games: 1976—Montreal

Bio: While this black beaver does little to inspire a desire to engage in sports, he perfectly evokes the host country and boasts a bold design sensibility. 

WTF Factor: 2

Spirit of the Games Factor: 5

Overall Score: 5

Mascot: Hodori and Hosuni

Games: 1988—Seoul

Bio: A smiling Korean tiger aimed to evoke the host nation while being a creature children could identify with (maybe a little too closely for those who ate Frosted Flakes).

WTF Factor: 1

Spirit of the Games Factor: 8

Overall Score: 7

 

Mascot: Izzy

Games: 1996—Atlanta

Bio: The gold standard in mascots gone wrong. The name “Izzy” is derived from “What is it?” If you encountered Izzy, you would immediately have him Tased. Or ask, “Izzy for real?!”

WTF Factor: 10+1

Spirit of the Games Factor: 1

Overall Score: 1

Mascot: Waldi

Games: 1972—Munich
Bio: A little twee and a little bold, the Bavarian dachshund is a design truly of its period. The first (and probably last) mascot to evoke the Games’ “gaiety.” Today this would be called hipster and “too boring.”

WTF Factor: 4

Spirit of the Games Factor: 7

Overall Score: 6

Mascot: Schuss

Games: 1968—Grenoble

Bio: Though technically unofficial, Schuss was the Olympic Games’ first mascot. Simple and resonant, Schuss was, literally, a ball on skis.

WTF Factor: 7

Spirit of the Games Factor: 8

Overall Score: 4

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