Yesterday we introduced you to the thoughtful and adorable mascots for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. They are a good example of what an Olympic mascot is supposed to be: a symbol of athletic competition and a personification of the home nation. But sometimes an Olympic mascot fails in every conceivable department. Here are the 10 worst Olympic mascots ever…
10. Cobi (1992 Summer Olympics – Barcelona)
There were complaints when this mountain sheep dog first made an appearance sans clothing. So the designers decided to dress him up in something that really captured the essence of Olympic sports: a business suit. I don’t know how a middle-aged dog with a bad comb-over wearing a power suit is supposed to symbolize the Olympics, but somebody better find out why his nose is trying to run away from his face.
9. Hidy and Howdy (1988 Winter Olympics – Calgary)
Yes, Hidy and Howdy adequately reflect the whole “west meets snow” thing that Calgary’s got going on. But there’s something about a polar bear dressed as a rodeo clown that doesn’t vibe with us. You wouldn’t see a fish in a snow jacket. You wouldn’t a horse in a bikini. What’s truly bothersome is that I don’t recall ever seeing a polar bear with the face of a dog.
8. Olly, Syd and Millie (2000 Summer Olympics – Sydney)
At first glance, we had no idea what these creatures were supposed to be. So we looked it up and boy did we feel like fools for not recognizing these well-known animals: a kookaburra, a platypus and an echidna. Besides the fact that these mascots display no affiliation to the Olympics nor do they represent sports in any way, what’s really troubling is that these kid-unfriendly creatures look like they’re possessed by bloodthirsty demons. Look at the kookaburra and tell me he’s not ready to gouge your eyes out.
7. Neve and Gliz (2006 Winter Olympics – Torino)
The IOC received 237 designs for the 2006 Olympic mascots and this was the best one? Gummy people with a snowball and an ice cube head? Perhaps we’ll submit our idea for a crappy mascot at the next Summer Olympics: a sun wearing sunglasses holding a tennis racket. It’s freakin’ genius, isn’t it?
6. Snowlets (1998 Winter Olympics – Nagano)
Ten bucks says some lazy artist stole this drawing from his kids’ bedroom the morning he was supposed to submit Olympic mascot ideas. But here’s where we get lost. Some committee took a look at these box-shaped freaks with disturbing eyes and said, “Yes, that totally embodies the Olympics in Japan! Scratch the samurai sake bottle, we’re going with the owls drawn with a crayon.”
5. Schuss (1968 Winter Olympics – Grenoble)
Good god, it’s like being at the dermatologist office. I can’t tell if this is a pimple that desperately needs to be popped, or a man that’s not only suffocating to death in a ski outfit too tight, but the poor guy had skin ripped off his head before he was painfully brandished with the Olympic logo. Schuss was the first ever Olympic mascot, and you can see the bar was set high.
4. Schneemann (1976 Winter Olympics – Innsbruck)
Okay, we get it, there’s snow at the Winter Games. Having a snowman as your mascot isn’t that creative. But if there’s anything worse than a snowman, it’s a half-assed snow man. Schneemann looks like a bunch of kids just got lazy and didn’t finish the job. There’s a three-ball requirement to be considered a legit snowman. One ball of snow? With freakishly disproportionate hands and feet? And an old lady’s sunhat? Too bad the hat actually prevented this sorry excuse for an Olympic mascot from melting away.
3. Athena and Phevos (2004 Summer Olympics – Athens)
If there was such thing as a horror porno, these mutated penises with grotesquely swollen feet would be in it. They’re supposed to resemble an ancient Greek toy. Apparently sex toys existed in ancient times too. Most disturbing is their heads. What the hell is going on there? It looks like something is trying to crawl out of their bodies like that creature in that dude’s stomach in “Alien.” Athena clearly has a dog inside her head and Phevos apparently swallowed a human and that poor soul is trying to force his hand out from Phevos’ head.
2. Magique (1992 Winter Olympics – Albertville)
The Olympics are supposed to showcase the fittest, most athletic people in the world. A fat kid shoved into a winter outfit doesn’t convey athleticism. This gelatinous humanoid doesn’t even look fit enough to watch the Olympics from its couch. Come on, if you put this bulbous thing on top of a Christmas tree where it belongs, the tree would snap.
1. WhatIzIt (1996 Summer Olympics – Atlanta)
This mascot would be more successful in a “D.A.R.E. To Keep Kids Off Drugs” campaign than at the Olympics. All the whacked out imagery from artists on an ecstasy trip combined into this Frankenstein of bad ideas: rings around a tail, lightning bolt eyebrows, body in the shape of a leaking breast implant. ESPN called it “the sperm in sneakers.” Kids didn’t know what the hell to call it. That’s why it was eventually named Whatizit.