Your Olympic nightmares, the 2012 edition

london2012.jpgI'm not sure I agree with Fast Company's theory that the best Olympics have the worst mascots, mostly because I can't remember which Olympics were which. I mean, every Olympics I've ever seen has blended into a hazy melange of ski jumps and cute girls and either opening or closing ceremonies that seemed to focus on huge, vaguely sinister figural apparati being erected in stadiums while bad music played. But: If Fast Company is correct, the 2012 London Olympics are going to be awesome. Meet Mandeville and Wenlock, two shiny steel-ingot-based life forms:
We were created from the last two drops of British steel used for the London 2012 Olympic Stadium. That's why we're so shiny, reflecting the people, places and things we meet along the way as we travel around the UK. You might see yourself reflected if we meet you!
Yes: They have their own website.

You could argue that there's something charming about a country whose industrial glory days ended 100 years ago choosing steel ingots to represent itself. But the UK has made a rookie mistake here, because mascots made by animating inanimate objects are almost always terrifying. Check out Neve and Gliz (Turin 2006), a humanized ice cube and snowball, and tell me you won't have nightmares tonight. Britain should have stuck with animals, like we did in 2002 (Salt Lake City), with the cheery, cartoony Hare, Coyote & Bear. Animals are cute. People like 'em. Okay, maybe not coyotes so much. But Yogi? Bugs? Q.E.D., London Olympic Committee. Q.E.D.


  1. Plus the UK outsourced all steel production to Lakshmi MIttal. Who also gets namechecked for the horrible official Olympics statue/structure.

  2. I’ve watched enough British tv to know that these so-called “mascots” are up to something sinister and can only be thwarted by the Doctor.

    To the TARDIS!

  3. Woah woah woah… We still had heavy industry as recently as 30 years ago, rather than a hundred.

    Until Margaret Thatcher got her claws into everything, though.

  4. I’m kind of amazed we’ve gone this far and no one’s mentioned that they look like robot penises, one of them wearing the infamous Lisa Simpson Blowjob logo.

  5. As usual, The Daily Mash has an excellent take on the mascots –

    “Emma Bishop, a mother of two from Finsbury Park, said: “The names sound like a pair of prostitute-murdering opium addicts from the 1880s and they look like the Tellytubbies’ abusive uncles.”

    “What we’ve got here is two giant, damaged teeth, each with a massive, psychotic eye and razor sharp claws. And the blue one seems to be using bright, friendly colours to draw attention to his genital area.

    “So these things – designed specifically for children – are basically lobster-clawed pervert monsters that remind them of the dentist. Bravo.”

    1. ” “So these things – designed specifically for children – are basically lobster-clawed pervert monsters that remind them of the dentist.”

      Don’t be silly. These are the British Olympics.

  6. really, they’re dreadful. And what’s with the names? And the single eyes?

    Then again, a lot of people hated the adorable 2010 mascots too when they first came out :P

  7. I’d say Lord Coe is pretty hypocritical. In the article, he stated that kids didn’t want soft, fluffy furry mascots but instead a mascot with a story.

    “The message we were getting was that children didn’t want fluffy toys,” (source: )

    “”Children told us a number of things: they weren’t that sold on furry animals and they actually wanted a story.” (source: )

    Yet in this video of an interview, he stated that there will be soft and fluffy toys available! (watch at the end just around a minute mark)

    “They will be cuddly, they will be fluffy and they will be soft.”


  8. I think the 2010 mascots were disliked at first because they seemed too calculatedly cute and commercial, almost like Pokemon characters. That’s not a criticism I would level at these…these…wait, they really are supposed to be steel ingots? That’s not a snarky joke?

    Okay MrJM, you’re exactly right. I’m not sure which sinister force is behind this campaign, but it’s gonna take a lot of sonic screwdriving to get the human race out of this one…

  9. I only remember one Olympics. I had a big crush on one of the Russian track stars. Really. She was extra cute. If she was a she, that is . . .

  10. Does Britain even have enough charismatic fauna to muse as mascots? There’s foxes, then, rabbits? Mice? I think there’s also ducks, pepper moths…
    Can an actual brit name some likely animal candidates that they could have used instead of the ingots? Because I can’t name any good ones but living in california knowing much about british wildlife isn’t something that I’ve come to develop very much. For all I know I could simply be lacking in knowledge, but until I have better verification, I can’t really say.

    1. Ever hear of Beatrix Potter? We basically invented the whole cute talking animals thing.

  11. Oooh – they are actually CCTV cameras! To remind you … that you’re being watched … Always.

  12. Look like a pair of CCTV cameras to me… Then again, that’s appropriate for today’s London.

  13. Oh, they should have gotten the people behind Wallace and Gromit/Creature Comforts to do nice claymation mascots.

  14. “Britain should have stuck with animals, like we did in 2002 (Salt Lake City), with the cheery, cartoony Hare, Coyote & Bear.” I could have sworn their names were Powder, Copper and Coal, reflecting SLC’s own pillage-prone natural resources.

    1. And their colors are blue and yellow. Really, you might not be wrong there in the first place.

  15. They look like Kang and Kodos from the Simpsons, dressed either to star in a pop video or to go jogging.

  16. Having read the BBC article that accompanied their unveiling the other day, as well as the TV news spots that followed later in the day, I gleaned three things.

    1. All reports I saw/read couched the unveiling in no uncertain terms that all Olympic mascots that have ever come before them have been unmitigated crap and that one should lower one’s expectation drastically before passing judgement.

    2. In explaining these creatures, the breathless advertising company tasked with their creation, said that their mono-eye was a camera. All the above references to CCTV and what that means in modern Britain are 100% correct. Our opening ceremony won’t be anything like the Chinese one, because we can’t organise, but we sure as hell can watch.

    3. The decision to have the mono-eye as a camera was explained thus: They appear to have a single central eye, explained as a camera lens, through which they’ll see the world, and respond to it. So… like AN EYE then?

    Well at least we have Beckham to do some keepy up during the opening and closing ceremonies.

  17. Binomes from reboot was my first thought, too. I don’t know what you guys are talking about – these mascots are excellent. The SyFy channel must be extremely disappointed they didn’t get hold of them first.

  18. Mandible and Wedlock

    Interesting choice for mascots. Rather remind me of the Java mascot Duke, twisted into hideousness.

    Don’t think I’ll ever be able to shake the Lisa Simpson reference now that I’ve read it.

  19. So no one else thinks the orange one looks like it’s making an angry frowny face? I keep looking at it and wondering what it’s so mad about…

  20. “Animals are cute. People like ’em. Okay, maybe not coyotes so much.”

    Hey! I’ll take coyotes over bears and bunnies any day.

    1. “The Wind In The Willows”, one of the quintessential British novels has several animal characters. Mole, Water Rat, Mr. Badger, the Otter family.

      So, if one uses the book as inspiration, one could create new characters, I’m sure.

      Two lumps of animated cyclopian steel.

      Where’s UNIT when they’re needed?

  21. I really hate all these mascots, cuddly or sharp.

    Wouldn’t it be awesome if the Olympics on the strength of men and women excelling the height of sport and competition.

    But nope.

  22. Well, at least it will be awesome when Ultraman flies in and kicks their asses.

  23. Clearly the add agency mistakenly sent them the mascots for the 3012 R’lyeh Olympics.

  24. I saw these things on the tv yesterday.
    A couple of statuettes, all shiny and abstract – reminded me a bit of something Jeff Koons might make….
    I kind of like them.


    1. I kind of like them too. Then again, I like the logo as well, so I’m probably not to be trusted.

  25. I’m hoping that the real mascot (a Dalek) will roll in during the opening ceremonies and kill these two.

  26. I think W&M are full of AWESOME! I’m tired of the Disneyfied force fed animé-cuteness that is mandatory to satisfy a marketers mandate.

    These guys are fun and original. I haven’t been this excited about an Olympic mascot since the unofficial 1968 Winter Olympic mascot of Shuss!

    But as they say, Haters gotta hate!

  27. I love the Brits and the fact that the Olympics are there in 2012 BUT more and more I am having serious doubts about these Games

    1. The LOGO – can we say Maggie Simpson giving head!!

    2. That godawful sculpture they debuted awhile back which is going sit somewhere in Olypic Park

    3. and now this with the mascots. I have never understood WHY mascots are needed!! I don’t think I have seen one mascot for any Olympics that was noteworthy!!

    4. I cringe at what they are going to come up with for medal designs….

  28. One big eye, two legs, thank god they don’t have any fur !
    I just can’t explain the lobsters arms.

  29. Those aren’t actually that bad. For truly excellent olympics, you need the mascot to be something scruffy and supposed-to-be-plush from a scruffy 70s soviet local tractor-tyre eating event.

  30. I’m with #32 – it’s Kang and Kodos in encounter suits. Hmmm – and that pic looks like they’re about to hold hands (see Treehouse of Horror VII).

  31. Right, so, where’s a nice part of the world that I can spend the summer of 2012? I figure if I save up now I should be able to get away for most of the bloody olympics.
    That or I find a job tending servers down a mineshaft or something for the duration.

    Anyway @Locien (#20), Badgers obviously, TB infested ones preferably :)

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