The history and significance of the Olympic Games mascots

The mascots of sporting events are usually forgotten and with some exceptions, they become a mechanism that will end up in the souvenirs of some competition, a point where their value lies to allow the entry of funds to the high investments to organize an Olympic Games or a World Wide Football Coup.

But the creation of an Olympic mascot is not a task that evokes us to the chapter of The Simpsons where Homer creates Resortín with the aim of convincing the International Olympic Committee to receive the summer joust. Each of these icons seeks to convey a message and hopefully pass to posterity.

In order to Tokyo 2020 was presented to Miraitowa (from the words mirai which means future and towa of eternity), a character inspired by the Japanese proverb “learn from the past and develop new ideas”, with a pattern of colors, modern design and an athletic figure, but also with the power of teleportation, a necessary gift to be in all the Olympic stages, but how would it get from athletics to swimming?

With the modern-era Olympic Games taking place since 1896 you would think the history of pets is extensive, but Miraitowa is only 13th on the list of winter competitions, with a history that, curiously, began in winter trials. .

Schuss was the first Olympic mascot presented for Grenoble (in France) in 1968, although on that occasion they preferred to call him character and it was a cartoon of a character skiing that was created on one night in January 1967, but it laid the foundations for his Purpose: to place it on keychains, magnets, pins or watches, any marketable object.

But from the official part, It was not until Munich 1972 that a dachshund named Waldi was considered the first Olympic mascot. Its creator was Elena Winschermann and she drew it at a Christmas party organized by the organizing committee after the attendees were given a sheet of paper and colors to help with the task.

Although it was not planned, it turned out that Waldi’s silhouette transcended since the marathon route had his image with the dog’s head facing west and with the route starting from the neck.

The organization and the International Olympic Committee also went a step further by making it the first mascot to which the rights were commercialized, so placing its figure on a product had a cost.

This is how characters came to Olympic history with various stories behind them, such as the 1984 Los Angeles eagle Sam created by Robert Moore, part of Walt Disney, another character who arrived at the last minute after the original was a bear, which evoked Misha (Mikhail Potapych Toptygin), the character used in the 1980 Moscow Olympics at a time when both the United States and the Soviet Union lived in the tension of the cold war.

But none of them have had the impact that Cobi achieved in Barcelona 1992, a design that started from a “doodle of a Catalan shepherd” with a cubist touch created by Javier Mariscal. So far, he has been the only character to have had global success driven by a 26-episode cartoon with rights acquired by 24 television stations and that 25 years later continues to be remembered, with his products considered collectibles.

Will the same happen with Miraitowa? Only time will tell.

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