Paralympic Mascots; The Good. The Bad. The Ugly.
Updated: Jul 2, 2019
Mascots. We never knew we needed them, but now it seems we can’t live without them. In recent years Mascots have become ubiquitous to mega-events, with lots of spirited opinions on the choices made by Local Organising Committees.
Wenlock & Mandeville from London 2012 were generously described as “hideous, rubbish earrings” while Rio 2016’s Vinicius & Tom were labelled “a mashup of a bunch of animals, video game characters and cartoons, with some synthetic filling”.
Considering the kind of criticism thrown at them, it’s probably a good that the poor things aren’t actual living creatures. It’s been 45 years since Waldi, the first ever official mascot at an Olympics at Munich 1972.
So we decided to go back in time and compile a fully-fledged Top 3 Best & Worst list for you to pass judgement upon. What better way to spend your Friday afternoon?!
THE WORST ...
>>> Apparently, the artist came up with the cow because, “as he grew up on a farm, it was his understanding that cows were gentle creatures that formed bonds with the humans taking care for them.”
I like cute colourful cows as much as the next person but this cow seems to come with no relatable backstory other than being the artist’s 87th attempt to get this pesky contract over with.
>>> An art teacher invented this character representing a what looks like a retired gym teacher – uhm the New York 1984 Paralympic Games mascot. Need I say more?
>>> The uninspired mountain on mono-skis was the star of the Tignes-Albertville 1992 Paralympic Winter Games.
THE BEST ...
>>> Barcelona, 1992 introduced us to Petra - a positive, extroverted, independent, energetic girl with no arms. Sweet and simple. Plus, she’s a girl! Finally!
>>> This cool guy, Otto the otter, the Paralympic mascot for Salt Lake City 2002, was chosen because of the animal’s agility and vitality. Native American tribes considered the otter to be one of the most powerful animals.
>>> Proteas the seahorse from the Athens 2004 Paralympic Games was a deliberate step away from previous Paralympic mascot designs because it represented Strength, Pursuit, Inspiration and Celebration, and the athletes’ constant goal of achieving excellence.
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