The ‘other Cobi’: the mascots of the Summer Olympic Games and their values


The ‘other Cobi’: the mascots of the Summer Olympic Games and their values

The Olympic Games They are the great multi-sports event par excellence. But their impact goes further and, therefore, the symbology associated with them is very extensive. One of the symbols most closely associated with the Games is the sa official mascotsnow well established in the beautiful figures commonly seen at every Olympic event, but with a very recent history.

If the first Olympic Games of the Modern Era were held in Atlanta 1996, It wasn’t until the 1968 Grenoble Winter Games that mascots entered the five rings event.. In the summer, therefore, they did it in those Munich 1972. They are, in other words, a relatively recent addition, but very much established in the last fifty-two years: since the German Games, all of the following have had a representative mascot.

This is not a coincidence. It was in Munich 1972 when the dachshund Waldi became a symbol of that Olympic edition. Its impact and its visibility at the Games were so great that, since then, the Olympic Charter has regulated the presence of an official mascot in each edition.

Since then, a beautiful design has been linked to each of the Olympic editions, with technology also as an aspect added to make them. Each pet has its own message, motive, and associated values.. Usually, linked to the culture of the country organizing the Games. Thanks to the strokes explained by the IOC, it is a brief history of the Olympic mascots of the Summer Games.

*Images from the archives of the MD (1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 12, 13 and 14) and the IOC (4, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11).



Munich 1972

Mascots were introduced for the first time at the Grenoble Winter Olympic Games in 1968. In a summer key, Munich was in charge of giving the starting signal with a Bavarian dachshund representative sporting the Olympic colors on its body. It was created by German designers Elena Winschermann and Otl Aicher, the latter of whom also created pictograms representing various sports. Its shape is related to the Olympic marathon route of that edition. It was so successful that the mascots stayed at the Games forever.

Amik, mascot of the 1976 Montreal Olympic Games



Montreal in 1976

The representative mascot of the Canada Games should be a beaver, emblematic of the area. In fact, ‘Amik’ means beaver in the Indian language of an area in northern Canada. It is a symbol of friendship, patience and hard work, three aspects that Canadian society considers key to bringing its games to life. It was created by Yvon Laroche, George Huel, Guy St-Arnaud and Pierre-Yves Pelletier. The red ribbon refers to the one on which the medals are hung during the Olympic event.




Moscow 1980

This is a brown bear created by Viktor Chizhikov. This animal is one of the Soviet symbols and its name is taken from one of the words by which bears are colloquially referred to in this area. He is best known for having a very relevant role in the closing ceremony of that Olympic event, making him one of the most iconic mascots in Olympic history.

Sam, mascot of Los Angeles 1984



Los Angeles 1984

It is an eagle created by C. Robert Moore, an employee of the Disney company, who was commissioned to design it. It is the union of two national symbols of the United States: the figure of eagles and the name ‘Sam’, despite the American flag he wears on his hat. Its purpose is to deliver a beautiful atmosphere to reflect the Olympic spirit. At first it was going to be a bear, but the idea was discarded because it was used in Moscow 1980.

Hodori, mascot of Seoul 1988



Seoul in 1988

It was selected in a contest and its name is related to ‘Ho’, ‘tiger’ in Korean. This animal is deeply rooted in that culture, where the hat it wears is also common. Kim Hyun designed it with the aim of conveying friendship and hospitality.




Barcelona 1992

One of the mascots that will always be remembered in the national territory. Designed by Javier Mariscal, it was born as a tribute to the Barcelona ’92 Olympic Organizing Committee, from which the acronym takes its name. This is a dog designed in cubist style and wearing many different costumes before and during the Olympic Games in the Catalan city.

Izzy, mascot of the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games



Atlanta 1996

His name was chosen in a contest held among children. It does not represent any animal or any particular thing, but a new design made exclusively to be different. Its author is John Ryan and he wants to be an example of technological advancement. Of course, not forgetting the Olympic rings that he spread on his body.

Syd, Olly and Millie, mascots of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games


Syd, Olly and Millie

Sydney 2000

Matthew Hatton was in charge of designing a platypus (Syd), a kookaburra (Olly) and an echidna (Millie), three typical Australian animals, but with the aim of avoiding more well-known ones such as kangaroos and koalas. They represent the symbols of water, air and earth and their names pay tribute to Sydney, the Olympic Games and the millennium that began in 2000.

Phoebus and Athena, mascots of Athens 2004


Phoebus and Athena

Athens 2004

Created by Spiros Gogos, their names and the mascots themselves pay homage to two Greek gods such as Apollo and Athena. They are two brothers represented in typical figures of the area (the daidala, symbols of purity and fertility) and values ​​such as brotherhood, one of the maxims of the Olympic Games. Its colors refer to the sea and the sun.

Beibei, Jingjing, Huanhuan, Yingying and Nini, mascots of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games


Beibei, Jingjing, Huanhuan, Yingying and Nini

Beijing 2008

If you take the first syllable of each of the mascots and say them in the same sentence, you’ll say “welcome to Beijing” in Chinese. They represent luck from the natural elements represented by animals from Chinese culture: Beibei is a fish that symbolizes water (blue), Jingjing is a panda that symbolizes the forest (black and green), Yingying a antelope representing the earth (yellow), Nini a swallow to evoke the sky (green) and Huanhuan represents fire and passion for sport (red). They were created by Han Meilin.

Wenlock, mascot of the London 2012 Olympic Games



London 2012

Designed by the Iris agency, they are a tribute to Pierre de Coubertin as they are based on the Much Wenlock Games, which inspired the launch of the Olympic Games. They got their name from them. They represent the last drops of steel used in the construction of the London Olympic Stadium. They wear Olympic rings, they have three holes in their heads to remember the podiums and they pay homage to the Olympic stadium and the famous London taxi.




Rio de Janeiro 2016

Vinicius is the yellow mascot, as blue was used for the Paralympic Games. Designed by Birdo Produçoes, it pays homage to the Brazilian poet Vinicius de Moraes through a mix of different animals from the country. It was inspired by video games and its name was chosen by popular vote.




Tokyo 2020

Designed by Ryo Taniguchi, its name is a blend of the Japanese words ‘mirai’ (future) and ‘towa’ (eternity). I wanted to convey eternal hope by nodding to futuristic Japanese designs, but also highlighting the power of antiquity. His head has that ornament that represents a chess board.

Phryge, mascot of the Paris Games


Les Phryges

Paris 2024

They represent Phrygian caps, worn by Marianne in the French Revolution and symbols of national independence. One of them will be used for the Olympic Games and another, with a prosthesis on one leg, for the Paralympics. This shows the commitment of the French to an inclusive society. Their colors, red, white and blue, represent the French flag, which they also wear next to their eyes. They are created by a design team.

Source: La Verdad


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