The Competition for Olympic Kawaii is On! Can You Do Better Than These Creepy Mascots From the Past?

Reminder: If you have a design for a mascot you believe is killer kawaii, and would be perfect representing the Tokyo2020 Olympics, start working on it now! The design contest is on, and the submission period lasts from August 1 – 14. See this link for details!

As a benchmark, here are two you should be able to beat.

Schuss the mascot

Schuss – 1968 Grenoble Winter Games Mascot

You would think that Japan would have had a mascot for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. But the first mascot to represent an Olympic Games appeared at the Grenoble Winter Games in 1968 was “Schuss”.

This cartoonish representation of a skiier, whose outsized head with large eyes wide apart, sits on an abstract blue body of plastic bent in two places, connected to skis. The first word out of my mouth – creepy. (That’s probably why it got the nickname “The Skiing Sperm”. )

The word “Schuss” actually means a fast and straight downhill run, but it might as well be the sound other’s make when you try to bring up this mascot in conversation.

Wenlock and Mandeville

Wenlock and Mandeville – 2012 London Mascots

Here is a case where intuition goes out the window. Wenlock and Mandeville were the mascots of the 2012 London Summer Olympics and Paralympics. Just looking at them, I don’t know what to call them except walking eyeballs. The names refer to two places in England: Much Wenlock in Shropshire and Stoke Mandeville Hospital in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire.

Much Wenlock was where Dr Penny Brookes organized a rural fair in the mid-19th century that included a variety of sporting events loosely based on ancient Olympic ideas. Stoke Mandeville Hospital was the site of the first Stoke Mandeville Games in 1948, often cited as a significant precursor to the Paralympics.

And yet, what do I see? Two walking eyeballs.