Mascots unveiled for Vancouver Olympic Games

  1. Updated Tue. Nov. 27 2007 9:40 PM ET News Staff
    Inspired by British Columbia's iconic geography and aboriginal legends, organizers of the 2010 Vancouver Olympic and Paralympic Games unveiled three mascots and an honorary sidekick on Tuesday.

    They were presented during a 35-minute live show at the Bell Centre for Performing Arts in Surrey, B.C.

    They include:

    • Miga -- a snowboarding sea-bear inspired by the First Nations' legends of the Pacific Northwest. Miga, described as mischievous and outgoing, is part sea-bear and part orca whale.
    • Quatchi -- a shy and gentle Sasquatch with a long brown beard and blue earmuffs meant to conjure the mystery and wonder associated with Canada's wilderness.
    • Sumi -- an animal guardian spirit, who flies with the wings of the thunderbird, is described as "a natural born leader with a passion for protecting the environment."
    • Mukmuk -- a Vancouver Island marmot sidekick considered an honorary member of the mascot team.
    Quatchi and Miga will represent the Olympic Games while Sumi will represent the Paralympic Games.

    More than 800 excited schoolchildren from eight different elementary schools were on hand for the announcement.

    Some of them have already made up their minds when it comes to a favourite.

    "Miga," said one little girl without hesitation, "because he's really cute and he's really small and he's one of my favourite animals."

    VANOC head John Furlong told CTV News British Columbia that he watched the ceremony with a little girl who was in awe of the production.

    "She just all of a sudden had this beaming smile across her face and it just made my day sitting there watching all that happen , watching how connected she felt with these characters," he said.

    The new mascots were designed by Meomi Design based in Vancouver. The company -- headed by Vicki Wong in Vancouver and Michael Murphy in Los Angeles -- has created art for Google, Electronic Arts, Time Out Magazine and Girls, Inc.

    Meomi was chosen by VANOC after an open call for professional artists and design companies to submit proposals on the 2010 website.

    The mascots will appear in advertisements for the Games, official publications and websites, and will provide souvenir-minded Olympic fans with stuffed toys and other trinkets to take home.

    They will also serve to "bring humour and light-hearted fun to the Games experience and help provide a warm welcome to athletes and visitors from around the world," the Vancouver Olympic Games website said ahead of the announcement.

    The identities of the new mascots were a highly guarded secret ahead of Tuesday's announcement. Speculation swirled as to what distinctly Canadian symbols would represent the Games -- a moose, maple leaf, hockey puck, beaver, etc.

    Mascots can bring in millions of dollars in merchandising, leave a legacy of civic pride and provide a visual identity for the Games. VANOC hopes the mascots will bring in $600 million in sales.

    "Traditionally the mascot has been about the country, it's been about the history, the culture, so there's a lot at stake there," Joy Jennison, a spokesperson with public relations firm Hill & Knowlton, told CTV British Columbia.

    A bad mascot can leave Olympic fans cold, as did "Neve" the snowball and "Gliz" the ice cube during the 2006 Turin Games.

    The first Canadian Olympic mascot, Montreal's beaver "Amik," was unveiled during the 1976 Games in Montreal. Calgary introduced the world to "Hidy" and "Howdy" in 1988, a pair of cowboy hat-wearing polar bears.

    The first official Olympic mascot, "Waldi" the dachshund, was unveiled in 1972 at the Summer Games in Munich.

    With a report from CTV British Columbia's Mike Killeen

  2. They're cute!

    I can see them as plush toys.
  3. This is Mukmuk. This picture is the only non-Flash picture I could find.