Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Olympic Mascots: Miga, Quatchi, and Sumi

Every country that hosts the Olympics gets to choose the official mascots. Vancouver chose these little critters for the Winter 2010 Olympics. Boy, this story reminds me that no matter what you do, there's always going to be someone who doesn't like it. But damn, those little guys are cute!:

"Based on mythological characters, they are Miga, Quatchi and Sumi. Miga, a sea bear who lives in the ocean with her family pod near Tofino, and Quatchi, a young sasquatch, represent the Olympics, while Sumi represents the Paralympics that follow afterward.

"A sea bear is a First Nations creature, part killer whale, part Kermode spirit bear. The third mascot, Sumi, an animal-guardian spirit, is a Thunderbird that wears the hat of an orca. Sumi will be the mascot of the Paralympics.

"The Vancouver organizers have a CDN$46-million merchandising program; previous Olympics have made as much as $100 million from mascot-related products.

"René Fasel, Chairman of the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) Coordination Commission commented that "The IOC welcomes these imaginative new additions to the Olympic Family as they take their place on the world stage today - a symbol of the Games and of Canada. We know that when Olympians, Paralympians and visitors from around the globe arrive in British Columbia at Games time, they will fall under the spell of these captivating characters."

"Many respondents on the CBC.ca forums complained that the characters were poorly designed, and objected to the anime influence. One early commenter posted: "these mascots do represent BC very well... someone must have been smoking A LOT of BC bud when they created these things. Maybe the dealer was that marmot that no one can see."

"Some felt that they were a nice change of pace, from the "regular run-of-the-mill Canadiana that has been recycled over and over again. Vancouver is a new city for new things and fresh faces, a place for experimentation... I think we need to remember that these characters are for the kids and for fun. What kind of a statement would trotting out another red and white beaver and moose make? That we are imaginative with new ideas? They'll grow on us."

"While the Olympic logo was applauded by various First Nations and Inuit leaders, including the Nunavut premier, one criticized the image for the Games as looking like the video game character Pac Man.

"Roughly 1600 designs were submitted. Similarly, the mascot design process was open to all, but there was no word yet on numbers of entrants."

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