I <3 Canada

It’s been slow here at work today, and I’ve been filling the time with reading the news, which I rarely do.  There’s now so many questions circling my head like vultures amidst injured prey.  It’s as though our lives are based on hatred.  Why did a policeman hate the disrespect of texting in class so much that he flipped the desk?  Why are we disgusted enough by our faces and bodies to create videos about how to ‘look like your favourite celebrity.’  Why does Urban Meyer detest losing so much he would keep Jameis Winston on his team, even after the theft, rant, and alleged rape?  Why does Russia dislike Syria so much that they fired 118 targets in 1 day?

That’s what makes mascots so wonderful- they’re just meant for happiness. They’re there to cheer you on, to make you smile, to get you essited.  And I think the world is starting to see this- sometimes you do need positive reinforcement, not negative remarks.
Canada learned this precise lesson by making a mascot for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.  They created Komak, who is quite the looker:

www.winstonchow.ca

This moose was introduced two months before the olympics, in St. Lawrence Catholic Elementary School, where he was quickly loved. Teachers saw how fast kids adored him, and decided to incorporate him into their lessons.

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For two months before going to Sochi, Komak traveled all over Canada, befriending kids of the nation.  What they realized is that mascots are really popular, really wonderful, and really bring out the best in [most] people.  So they have kept Komak around to bring happiness to all sorts of events around the country, and have said he will definitely be back for the next olympics.  Good call, allies to the north!

www.winstonchow.ca

Picasso’s Mascot

Monday morning is one of those times when your mind and body are in different places.  Sure, you’ve physically driven to work and are sitting at your desk, but your brain is thinking back to the weekend, wishing you were still sleeping and looking forward to a day of whatever you want.

That happens with mascots, too.  The 1992 Summer Olympics showed that Barcelona tried, but they were just not all there.  Maybe it’s because the mascot was created in 1987, long before people were even in the full-mindset of the olympics, or maybe it’s because an artist was getting too ‘artsy.’  Either way, Cobi is just a little off.

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The artist’s favourite inspiration was Picasso.  Yes, Picasso was brilliant, but not exactly happy, pleasing, and family friendly- qualities I think a good mascot has.
Like so many other olympic mascots, Cobi was wildly successful, being a huge olympics moneymaker, and even getting his own TV show.
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Cobi is a Catalan Sheepdog.  I’d say he’s more of a sketch of better things to come.  How does someone run in that thing?  Looks like a big stuffed animal that would just fall over!
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But the infla-version of him was huge, and therefore kinda sweet.  Sorry, I just really like inflatables!!
Cobi, official mascot of the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona. Barcelona, Spain

The Dolphin in LA

This past Saturday was the start of the Special Olympics, taking place in LA.  If you think this is not a big event, think again- 7,000 athletes from 177 countries are participating.  Often confused with the Paralympics, the Special Olympics is for athletes with neurological- and intellectual- based illnesses, so while they may also have physical impairments, these issues are paired with mental illnesses.

Now, to get a bit sappy, in two weeks comes the 12th anniversary of a seizure-free me, which has been one of the best gifts I’ve ever been given, and I wish that all of the athletes in the Special Olympics could be as blessed as I have been.
But no, these writings are not about sob stories, they are about mascots!!!
Unfortunately, there is no mascot- the event chose to focus on the Special Olympics logo, now in a colourful design.
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But you know who has been showing up a lot?  Tsunami the Dolphin, from CSU-Channel Islands.  He’s carrying the ring, isn’t that cute?!?!
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Though an hour away from LA, he’s been chillin with all the athletes, because that sounds like an awesome time.  What is that blue thing?  Is he carrying pompoms too?  That’s pretty sweet.
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California State University- Channel Islands, while a four-year comprehensive school, does not take part in any NCAA sports, but are hoping to soon have some D2 teams.  But that doesn’t stop them from having this sweet dolphin, who represents a story of the Chumash Indians.  But more so than that, he’s just adorable.  Look at that cute logo!
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And even their ‘classier,’ more official logo is kickass.
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Cheer hardkore for these athletes, Tsunami!  You’re an awesome fan!

Adults are Lame

Bonus time!!!  No, ladies, not that free gift you get when you spend $31.50 or more at the Clinique counter.  Even better, a bonus mascot!

I’m going to start off by saying that 8 year old me was not very cool, because seriously, how was I not freaking ecstatic about the summer olympics being in the United States?  What, did I think it was always here?! ? Like, ATL was the new Athens?
Also not cool, I didn’t know that there was a mascot for these games!!! Loved by children and hated by adults, Izzy was quite the controversial character.
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Atlanta chose to use an idea created by a local designer, who made this blue blob character with all the smiles and eyeballs anyone could possibly want.  Named WhatIzIt, Izzy for short, kids thought he was fun and hilarious, but adults compared him to ‘a sperm in sneakers.’  What the crap, adults?  You guys suck.  He even carried the torch!  He’s so cute!
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Also why kids are better than adults, the olympic marathon was marked by a blue line the same colour as him.  When asked why that was the case, kids stated ‘Izzy ran it before everyone else because he’s super fast.’ But adults said that it was from ‘Izzy’s ass being dragged out of town.’ Seriously, adults, you freaking suck.  Live a lil, won’t you?
Just to prove how much power kids truly have, these stuffed buddies were pretty freaking popular:
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And both Sega and Super Nintendo made games revolving around Izzy’s olympic adventure.  So there, kids and corporate agree, he rocked.  Don’t be a mascot party pooper!

Copper, Powder, and Coal

If your weather is anything like mine, congratulations!  It’s officially deathly-hot summer.  With a high of 100 all week, I questions both my sanity and reasoning skills.  I mean, I am choosing to live in a place with the tagline “surprisingly hot.”  That’s not a good idea.

To try to stay half-sane, picture you’re somewhere else.  Somewhere nice, cool, and fun.  Like hanging out with the mascots in the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics.
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First of all, do their names not seem a little, loaded?  What message are they trying to get across to us?
These three are based on traditional stories of Native Americans that have been told for generations.  Story has it that at one point the sun was burning up the earth, so the hare ran to the top of the highest mountain, shot the sun with a bow and arrow, and the sun dropped to where it would no longer burn the earth.
The earth at one point turned dark and frozen, so a coyote stole fire, climbed to the highest mountain, and warmed the earth again.  A bear is the only animal brave and strong enough to outlast the hunters who tried to track him down.  These three animals represented being swifter, higher, and stronger, respectively, and were seen as a great fit for the olympic games.
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And while it’s a decent thing to base them off of, and the pictures are super cute, I’m not sure I’m sold on the actual mascots.  They’re a little spooky.
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But this guy likes them, so who am I to say otherwise?
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Beijing Cuties

Nature vs. nurture is a commonly debated topic in biology class.  Is it my fault I like burning ants with a magnifying glass?  Does that signal a serial killer?

Well, today I give 1 point to nature.  Particularly, the Chinese side, because they take mascots as seriously as I do.
In 2008, Beijing hosted the summer olympics, which of course takes quite a bit of planning.  But usually that means for arenas, hotels, water supply.  Not so much for mascots.  China feels differently, though.  To choose a mascot, China elected The National Society of Classic Literature Studies to choose a mascot and reveal it exactly 1,000 days before the opening ceremony.
After drawing more than 1,000 variants of Fuwas, or good luck dolls, they decided on this awesome team of 5.

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 These cuties taught me that Beijing goes big or goes home.  They made statues of these guys:
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Of course some cute athletic drawings:
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Costumed mascots, who can run pretty fast:
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And the photo that sucked me into doing this post:

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Lil baseball panda!  So freaking cute!  Oh my gosh!!

Frosty the Snowman

What is the highest grossing movie of all time?  Frozen, of course!  The best, and most memorable part was Olaf the snowman, because yes, we wanna build a snowman!  And definitely yes we want it to come to life.

Well, apparently the 1976 winter olympics in Innsbruck, Austria, felt the same way.  Because they made a snowman as the mascot!
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Schneeman, which means “snowman” in German, was the first ever winter olympics mascot.  The name and mascot were meant to show that these were the “games of simplicity”.  No idea what he meant by that.
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He is simple, I guess, but would definitely be a good stuffed buddy.
The winter olympics were meant to be in Denver, who actually won the bid.  But the Denver residents were very upset by the idea after realizing that much of the money would be coming from their paychecks.  They also thought there should have been more planning to make it more environmentally friendly.  So it went to a readily-prepared city who had just hosted it in 1964.
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