What the heck is that mascot?!? - Curt Yeomans

I was thinking of what to write this week, and I started to think about the mascots for London's 2012 Olympic games. They are really weird, really off-the-wall.

The mascots are these two, one-eyed things named Wenlock and Mandeville. Their backstory is that they were supposedly made from pieces of scrap metal from London's Olympic stadium. They are just weird-looking, with the eye taking up all of the space on the face, and only two fingers on each hand.

That got me thinking about the fact that several Olympics had some truly ugly, or flat-out bizarre mascots.

Of course, we all remember "Izzie," the ..., or whatever that was that represented the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. Fifteen years later, I still have no clue what he was.

He looked like a blue comma with arms, legs, eyes, a mouth and rings hovering around his butt. At least Atlanta can say its mascot was unique.

He was preceded by "Cobi," the mascot for the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Spain. He was allegedly a sheepdog, although he looked like a mix of a dog and a fox.

"Izzie" was followed by the 2000 Summer Olympics (the Sydney games) mascots who looked like the cast of a Pokemon cartoon. I think the orange, spikey anteater was a cousin of "Sonic the Hedgehog."

Then, the Athens Summer Olympics four years later had what looked like two slices of pizza that had begun growing creepy, moldy features.

One of the five 2008 Summer Olympics mascots (the Beijing games) had flames shooting out his (or was it a her) hair, while another one had an eagle rising from its head. They should have just stuck with only the cute panda bear mascot.

Actually, I'm beginning to think there is a pattern that every Summer Olympics in recent history had to be off-the-wall. They haven't had a normal one since Seoul's tiger mascot in 1988.

But, the Winter Olympics has had its fair share of off-the-wall mascots, too.

There was the 1968 Winter Olympics mascot (for the Grenoble, France games) that has been nicknamed "The Skiing Sperm" in some online accounts. It was actually supposed to be an abstract depiction of a downhill skier.

The 1992 Winter Olympics' mascot (for the Albertville, France games) was a star bundled in winter clothing.

The 2006 Winter Olympics mascots (the Turin, Italy games) was — well, I don't exactly know what they were, other than two chunks of clay with faces on them, and cartoon bodies.

One of the mascots from the 2010 Winter Olympics, in Vancouver, was Big Foot (although they called him "Quatchi"). I think that speaks for itself.

Curt Yeomans covers government and politics for the Clayton News Daily. He can be reached at (770) 478-5.