Wenlock and Mandeville – the scary mascots
I don’t know about you, but when I first saw the 2012 Olympic mascots I got scared. No kidding. The other day, two 10-year old girls sitting on the tube next to me looking at a poster with the mascots commenting on how scary they looked…
Hmmm, I am as easily scared as 10-year old girl? Where is this going…?
However, the stories about the mascots – or better Wenlock and Mandeville – are beautiful.
Wenlock (or Much Wenlock) is a small English town where in 1850 Dr William Penny Brookes initiated the Wenlock Olympian Games. Dr William Penny Brookes was later credited as having started the modern Olympic Games. Fun fact is that the Wenlock Olympian Games are still running every year in Much Wenlock.
Stoke Mandeville is another small English village where in 1948 neurologist and neurosurgeon Sir Ludwig Guttmann started the Stoke Mandeville Games with patients from the Stoke Mandeville Hospital. 16 people competed in the first Stoke Mandeville Games and the event grew every year. It is said that these games were the forerunners of the Paralympics. In 1960 the first official Paralympics were held in Rome.
Given those beautiful stories I am surprised the artists couldn’t come up with some less scary looking mascots…
I am not sure what the deal is with the one eye? Maybe the two together are supposed to be one face? I am not sure…
Allegedly, the original mascots were created out of a droplet of the same steel that the stadium is made of. And they are based on a children’s story. Or was the story based on them? Either way, they are supposed to get children involved in the Olympic games and to interact with them.
In case you want to know what Wenlock and Mandeville are up to, naturally each of them has their own Twitter tweets you can follow.
And according to my
extensive research, where you see their initial on their heads – that is supposed to look like a London taxi sign. Oh dear…
However, they are memorable and have been growing on me over the past months. And now that I see them everywhere I start to find them adorable even.
Walking along Southbank last weekend, I saw these sculptures.