Top 10 Worst Olympic Mascots

Google+ Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr +

This list was first published in 2008. Seems a good time to revisit it.

A good Mascot is a symbol of the spirit of the Olympics in general; while, at the same time, teaching the world something about the country where the event is taking place. I also feel that mascots should exude a positive and focused energy and enthusiasm for the games as well as the city, country and culture they represent.

10. MukMuk (2010, Vancouver Winter Games)

This character is supposed to be a Vancouver Island Marmot but it would be more accurate to describe him as an underdog. He is the ‘designated sidekick’ of the three official mascots for the Winter Games: Quatchi, Miga and Sumi. It’s like the real mascots are saying, “Okay MukMuk you can hang out with us but you’re not really one of us.” And pathetic little MukMuk says, “Gee, thanks guys! Woo hoo!”.

While the official mascots are out in the real world promoting the Olympics (okay, they are really just humans in costume) MukMuk the wannabe just exists on the internet and is not even important enough to include on the souvenir merchandise. Poor little guy.

You can read more about little MukMuk’s plight.

9. Hosuni (1988, Seoul Summer Games)

Who? Exactly. The Seoul Games actually had two mascots, Hodori and Hosuni, but for some reason Hodori was way more popular. When you look at a picture of them, it’s hard to see why since they look EXACTLY THE SAME. Being the unpopular one is bad enough, but how about being completely erased from everyone’s memory? If you look up information about mascots on the Official Website of the Beijing Olympic Games, Hosuni isn’t even mentioned. It’s like she never even existed.

8. Cobi (1992, Barcelona Summer Games)

I have to admit this character is really, really cute. But in what stretch of the imagination does a dog wearing a business suit symbolize the Olympics? Have they added ‘commuting’ to the Olympic events? Or possibly ‘handshaking’ or ‘powerpoint presenting’? I think not.

7. Hidy & Howdy (1988, Calgary Winter Games)

Okay we get it,  Calgary’s nickname is Cowtown and they have a big rodeo every year (the Calgary Stampede) so the cowboy/cowgirl theme makes sense. But ‘Hidy’ and ‘Howdy’? Why not just call them ‘Hick’ and ‘Hillbilly’? To make things worse, they were touted as ‘inseparable brother and sister polar bears’. Kind of cute or just creepy in that whole Angelina Jolie and her brother kind of way?

6. Waldi (1972, Munich Summer Games)

When I picture dogs competing in the various Olympic Summer Events (and I do this all the time, of course) I see a greyhound jumping hurdles, a Labrador retriever swimming and a whippet running around a track. But I never, ever, picture a short-legged, long-haired dachshund named Waldi. And, for goodness sake – it’s the Summer Olympics, Waldi, you can take off the sweater!

Waldi would have appeared closer to the number one position but he is the very first Olympic mascot ever so I’ve decided to ‘throw Munich a bone’.

5. Rocky (1980, Lake Placid Winter Games)

The mascot for the Lake Placid Winter Games was going to be a real live raccoon named Rocky but unfortunately he passed away before the games even began. A dead raccoon is not very inspiring or cute. In fact, it’s right up there with roadkill. I looked all over the web and could not find out how Rocky died. The most obvious suspect would be Roni, the cartoon raccoon who replaced him, but apparently his neighbor Wiley Coyote backed up his alibi. Rest in peace Rocky.

4. Athena and Phevos (2004, Athens Summer Games)

Otherwise known as Two Penises Wearing Sweaters or Two **** Wearing Dickies…

3. Olly, Syd and Millie (2000, Sydney Summer Games)

These forgettable mascots were completely upstaged by the unofficial mascot of the Sydney Summer Games, Fatso the Fat-Arsed Wombat. Fatso even appeared on the winners’ podium with several gold medalists. Meanwhile, poor Olly, Syd and Millie were being referred to as “Syd, Ollie and Dickhead” by the popular Australian comic duo Roy and HG. The Olympic Committee tried to discourage Fatso’s popularity at first but he became so popular that he ended up on a commemorative stamp and there is a statue of him outside the Sydney Olympic stadium.

2. Izzy (1996, Atlanta Summer Games)

Arguably the least successful mascot of all and evidently controlled by the most indecisive people in the world. First of all, not even the creators seem to know what he is supposed to be: isn’t Izzy short for ‘Whatizit’ or ‘Whatizhee’? And no one seemed to be able to settle on what he should look like either because his nose, size and eyes changed over time.
An article on the BBC news website quotes Simpsons creator Matt Groenig as describing Izzy as “a bad marriage of the Pillsbury doughboy and the ugliest California Raisin”. It then goes on to say that the US press described “as anything from a ‘blue slug’ to a ‘sperm in sneakers’. Source: BBC News

As a parting shot, perhaps I still have Athena and Phevos on my mind, but I have to agree Izzy does kind of look like a big blue sperm?

1. The Fuwa (2008, Beijing)

I am rating the Fuwa the worst mascot because, while others have been unpopular, confusing or silly, these bad luck dolls of Beijing are becoming downright ominous. Fuwa translates to the ‘good-luck dolls’ but you be the judge. First, the famous Chinese artist, Han Meilin, had two heart attacks while he was designing them. And now, each of the five characters that make up the Fuwa have been linked to events which have led to the superstitious term ‘the Curse of the Fuwa’. Nini (swallow/kite/locust figure) is linked to the Weifang T195 (“kite city”) train accident in April 2008 and the locust infestation in Inner Mongolia in June 2008. Yingying (the Tibetan antelope) is an obvious choice for association with the Tibetan unrest. Huanhuan, representing the Olympic flame, is being linked to the torch relay protests. Also, the Sichuan area, which suffered a catastrophic earthquake on May 12, 2008 is well known for its pandas and the fourth mascot, Jing Jing, is a panda character. The fifth and final Fuwa mascot is Beibeig, a fish who is representing the element water in the group. He is being associated to the floods in South China as well as an algal bloom in the Olympic sailing course.

According to Wikipedia, some people are now calling the characters “Wuwa” (witch dolls) instead of Fuwa and “online criticism of the dolls has frequently been censored”.

Personally, I think they are cute but I wonder how souvenir sales are doing? Are people reluctant to bring the bad mojo of these Fuwa/Wuwa into their homes?

Favorite Unofficial Mascots

Shop Related Products

Fatso the Fat-Arsed Wombat is probably the most famous unofficial mascot but he’s not the first. That distinction goes to Schuss the unofficial mascot of the 1968 Grenoble Olympic games. The tradition continues with Itchy the Bedbug, Creepy the Cockroach and Chewy the Rat, unofficial mascots for the Vancouver 2010 Olympics who appeared at the “Poverty Olympics” in 2008 to raise awareness for the poor and homeless.


Share.

85 Comments

  1. MukMuk appears to have potential. I honestly like the cut of his gib better than the others. Although, what is the real purpose of the Olympic mascots? Don't we want the Olympic games to be regal and a prestigious event? I don't know how the mascots contribute to this. Seems like they are there to make money in sales to children rather than promote the Olympic Spirit of the host city.

  2. Fuwa is by far the best Mascot yet! It not only represent the balance of human and nature(four types of animal near extinction), but also demonstrating the important message send by the Chinese to the world "Beijing welcomes you." Beibei,Jingjing,Yingying,Huanhuan,Nini connecting together forming a heart-warming phrase . According to the opinion of above , saying the superstitious of china . It self is showing superstitious by pointing out pass event . If we all goes around picking bones from a egg , there are many other event to point out. Involving NATURAL DIASTER which happen in different places around the world. We should always look into the future and forget about the past. Look at the success the Fuwa brought for 2008 Olympic . Fantastic opening great ending , just look at the amount of medals everyone achieve

  3. That's right, the mascots are a source of revenue for the Olympics. Why else would Beijing have 5 mascots and Vancouver 3? The Olympics are a for-profit outfit. I'm the photographer of the shot you've linked to the Poverty Olympics Mascots in Vancouver.

    In response to the comment left by Unknow, forget about the past and look to the future? One world, one nightmare!

  4. Don't judge the art of others feeling your some kind of a big shot… These mascots represent their country and their pride, maybe earns money but the 5 dolls represent 5 great elements of reality.. As far of Olympics is concern, Beijing 2008 rules.

  5. I'll have to agree that the Fuwa Mascots are creepy, and are not really popular among the Chinese ppl here. They say that theyre the devils..and bad luck dolls

  6. The Blackbird on

    Hi Anonymous. Beijing 2008 rules? I guess you aren't one of the 1.5 million Chinese displaced from their homes in the lead up to the Games, or a Tibetan monk, or a Falun Gong believer. Beijing 2008 rules? No way! Beijing 2008 sucks the big one! Ha ha ha!!!

    I'm going to buy a stuffed Quatchi, one of the Vancouver 2010 mascots. He has a dream of one day being a hockey goalie. This is part of his official bio. Then I'll set up Quatchi in the hockey net in the gymnasium where I work and a long line of those hard red plastic ball hockey balls and work on my slapshot.

    Oh, and another thing Anonymous, ha ha ha!!!

  7. Beijing Mascots are wicked. I really like it. It gives alot of welcoming message for everyone. I think they are the best Mascots so far designed in Olympics. Just because Chinese Government is doing what is best for its future doesn't mean we need to put them into spotlight like this!.

    I mean we think Chinese Government is cruel, which they are but then again who is not cruel. Look at Israel, built a really big Prison for Palastanians. And yet the world is so quite about it as if these people don't exist.

    Hidden agendas are on all governments plate but what leads to wrongfulness, mischief is by doing wrong at the beginning.

    Sorry i went way off the topic in this area but i had to raise it!

  8. That is a wonderful justification. Makes me feel so happy and so much better about China. If everyone is cruel, then cruelty must be okay! Yippie! Let's all party in this violent and cruel world and celebrate with sports and games and who cares who gets hurt or killed in the process. Cruelty can be fun!!! And the mascots are proof! Yay! Yippie! Three cheers for cruelty! Let's not try to change a thing. Let's allow the world to become more cruel because that way the world will be even more fun and we will have even more mascots to celebrate with. What a beautiful world!

    You are so right, Baki. I like the world you live in, the one without hope and love, where cruelty is king. It's so much fun!

    • The most peaceful place is USA because it can invade the other countries as it want. God bless Iraq, Yugoslavia and Afghan T.T

  9. Hi. I'll have to be a defender of Cobi's… he's actually wearing the traditional suit for opening events on the Olympics. In fact, if the Spanish wanted their mascot to look like a businessman or a lawyer, it wouldn't be a dog… a pig or a snake maybe.

    Allow to say Cobi's so awesome, he'd even had his own TV cartoon back in the 90's (might have been part of many of today's twenty-ers pre-adolescence).

    Regards, everybody!

    • I didn't realize that about Cobi's costume and have to admit it gives him a bit more credibility. And I hear his suit has got him into some pretty sweet poker games with some other dogs…

    • In fact, the original Cobi mascot does not have any clothes on (this doesn’t mean he’s naked, remember he’s a dog). On his belly, there’s the logo of Barcelona’92. Besides, several toy/souvenir figures were produced -like the one on the pic, which is a judge version of Cobi. There are others in which he’s dressed up as a boxer, etc.
      I have a figure with the original Cobi (no clothes and the logo) with suction cups.
      Cobi has proven to be some of the best-recalled Olympic mascots!!!

      Oh! I’d include the 3 mascots of Sochi 2014….none has any relationship with the other 2.

    • COBI is always referred as one of the most successful mascots ever. The International Olympic Committee have considered Cobi as the most profitable mascot.

      As other readers said, COBI, a Catalan sheepdog in Cubist style, worn multiple attires representing the many sides of the Olympic movement.

      Having said that, I would apreciate a correction as COBI has been misunderstood in this Worst Olympic Mascot list.

  10. "Nini (swallow/kite/locust figure) is linked to the Weifang T195 (“kite city”) train accident in April 2008 and the locust infestation in Inner Mongolia in June 2008."

    The train accident was not in the kite city Weifang. Make it right, this is not superstitious, rather super-radiculous.

  11. @Liz – Sorry for the error, the Nini/Weifang info came from two sources (The UK Telegraph and The Wall Street Journal) but I see you are correct that is not the location of the accident. Regardless, the Nini still qualify due to the locust infestation. And I think you made a spelling error: the long term for 'super-rad' is super-radical, but I thank you anyways 😉

  12. i heard the beijing mascots mean welcome to biejing wen you put them together

    bei-bei

    jing-jing

    huan-huan

    ying-ying

    ni-ni

    bei-jing-huan-ying-ni= beijing huan ying ni

  13. Why are Ollie/Syd/Millie, Cobi, Howdy/Hidy, Izzy, and Waldi on both the 10 Best and 10 Worst lists? Whoever wrote these articles has about as much imagination as the fools who came up with that horrid little Izzy.

  14. @Josh I can only speak for this list but I will have to go check out the other one: anyone who can come up with reasons why those mascots are among the 10 Best is truly imaginative!

  15. Nothing wrong with OLLY DID and MILLIE at least they look like real animals then those wacky looking creatures from those BEJING olympics

  16. Hey…!!! That's their own OCOG trademark. For me, Both Moscow 1980 Olympic Mascot, Misha Bear & Fuwa, 2008 Summer Olympic Mascot are the CUTE Mascot (yet include Sumi, Miga, Quatchi, & Mukmuk for 2010 Winter Olympics). if London OCOG Releases the Mascot, point it then edit this….

  17. Pogla The Grate on

    In the lead up to the 2000 Olympics, there was a recall on the Millie Dolls. Apparently her breasts were too big, and could cause eye injury… I don't really need say any more, do I?

  18. Have you got a before and after shot of Millie? I'm thinking of entering medicine with the eventual goal of opening a breast augmentation clinic so my interest is strictly professional.

    • Whoa, thanks for letting me know, Mr. Blackbird! Stole my writing word for word, how lame… particularly since we have an 'embed' feature so people can post lists on their sites anyways!

      • No problem. She didn't credit you, no link back to your page, stole the collection of images you compiled, and based on her replies to commenters appears quite content to pass your work off as her own.

        I'd send her a cease and desist notice, publicly. That's the courteous first step in the process.

  19. Now she's saying she is sure she saw your work somewhere else, i.e., she doubts – publicly – that you are the original author of the list. No class.

    • I think she's only saying that because the site moderator asked her to include sources from now on. If she saw it anywhere else, I'd like to know where because they took it from me, too. I think almost anyone reading my lists can tell they are all written by the same author (me). I'm not surprised she's defensive, I looked at a few of her other posts and they all look like they are "borrowed" from other sites. 'nuff said, let's get back to mocking those mascots!

  20. I personally find that the Beijing mascots are the cutest and rather inspiring (I'm pretty sure they have back stories and whatnot). I have the entire plush set of them.

    How can you be so superstitious? Luck is not up to a bunch of Olympic Mascots to control. How is that even possible? The designer probably just had heart problems.

    You also said "According to Wikipedia" that just made you instantly fail. No respectable internet user would use Wikipedia of all the websites to back up their argument. No matter how true the statement may be.

    All these mascots represent a country and their history, culture and their beliefs. Picking on them isn't the best thing to do.

    • Wikipedia may not always be the most accurate source for facts but it is a great compilation of popular opinion, which is helpful when writing a list like this (that is how I used it in the list above). I'm not superstitious, just like I don't really think the Athens mascots are actually two sweater-wearing penises. Unless Wikipedia says they are, then it must be true 😉

  21. The Blackbird on

    OMG … Kathy's comment is too funny! You're taking the idea of the importance of Olympic mascots way too far. I don't know anyone who considers them serious symbolic representations of their respective Host Nations. They're marketing tools, an advertising gimmicks and huge money makers for the local organizing committee. And that's all they'll remain unless local artists can subvert them to show visitors from outside the Host City what it really means to be a resident of it.

    That's my goal in spoofing the mascots, to reveal a more realistic interpretation of their place in the cultural life of Vancouver. Using them to bring unpleasant social, economic and cultural truths to the surface is far more valuable a service than to worship them as national icons. Ultimately, they are consumer products and those who purchase them can do what ever they want with them.

    Besides, picking on them can be sooooooo much fun!!! Ha ha ha ha ha!!!!

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/blackbird_hollow/438

  22. If you want to be taken seriously as a journalist, you need to fact-check your information first.

    Muk-Muk is featured on TONS of Vancouver 2010 Olympic merchandise.

    • Ouch! Yes, he's on all sort of official merchandise now, but it didn't look like he was going to be when I wrote this article in 2008. Here is a link to another article written around the same time as me: http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/features/2010/… More recently, there was a protest during the Vancouver Olympics to have Muk Muk recognized as an official mascot. Thanks for taking the time to read my list –

  23. The Blackbird on

    Actually, Kaylee, you need to do a little research. For the longest time, Mukmuk was relegated to the two-dimensional online world. There were no plans to create a Mukmuk doll or use the character on souvenirs and such after the official mascots were created. The information on this is out there, you just have to do a little fact-checking.

  24. I don't know about you but this page has no author. It can be someone who stay home all day playing video games or someone dropped out high school. Whoever it is! It is not reliable source. Just for the recorder, according to the Peter Hartlaub from msnbc, "Fuwa" is rated the forth best Olympic mascots. So I don't know why on this webpage "Fuwa" rated the worst of all time? My theory is that whoever wrote this must be hating 2008 Beijing Olympic is the BEST of Olympic by far!

    • I'm interrupting a very ferocious game of Pong to point out that I happen to be an extremely "reliable source" when it comes to my own opinion, which is what this list is based on.

    • The Blackbird on

      Beijing Olympics were the best by far at displacing people from their homes to make way for Olympic-related development. 1.5 million Chinese kicked out of their homes for a two week party makes Beijing the very best at disregarding human rights for the sake of appearances.

      Until the greedy corporate sponsors and their lapdog government partners start respecting human rights, civil liberties and equality for all peoples, no Olympic Games can be considered "the best." Until the IOC and host cities/countries start doing this, all Olympic Games – including Beijing – are the worst type of sports/entertainment spectacle on the planet.

      But I shouldn't be too hard on Beijing. After all, it will be smothered by the encroaching desert in just a few years. Everyone there will have to add another accessory (besides their operating room masks) to their wardrobe: goggles to keep the blowing sand out of their eyes. Or maybe Beijing could displace everyone, shut down the city and move all of the ugliness that is Communist China somewhere else.

      And the Fuwa suck! Ugly little mascots to represent an ugly event.

    • Please tell me WHAT DO YOU KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT HUMAN RIGHTS, CIVIL LIBERTIES, and EQUALITY FOR ALL PEOPLE??? Moreover, "[t]he worst type of sports/entertainment spectacle on the planet." WHAT? You have no idea what you're talking about!!! I'm pretty sure on this huge planet must have worse than type of sports/entertainment spectacle. What are you talking about? Seriously, China is the fastest growing economy country right now and by far it is faster than United States. Soon China will overtake Japan second largest economy in the World. Addition, China is more than half of U.S. GDP(PPP). Now can you honesty tell me one more time that China is going to SHUT DOWN and displace someone else? Man, why am I so work up with these idiotic people anyway. It is wasting my precious time to people that have no idea what they are talking about. . . . . . . .

      • The Blackbird on

        Hi K! 🙂

        Well, you have turned this into a personal attack, rather than sticking to the issue you originally raised (Beijing 2008 is the Best Olympics ever). You seem quite angry and defensive, using all of that profanity. Not a very flattering manner in which to exercise the freedom of expression Chinese nationals do not enjoy in their country. I will remain on topic in replying.

        China may have the world's fastest growing economy, but that doesn't have anything to do with the Olympics. To that point, though, I have to say that I would far rater live in a small and peaceful country with a slowed economy and where human and civil rights are respected, that in China where many people were shot and lkilled by security forces because they did not vacate their residences to make way for Olympic development. Pardon me for suggesting it be so, but a country where safety and security of the person hangs by so loose a thread – and both China and the United States come to mind – is unappealing.

        Also, I did not write that China will shut down. I wrote that Beijing will soon be swallowed up by the desert. Why build brand new stadiums and other sports facilities in a city that won't be able to use them in a decade? The poetic justice here is that the desert will make Beijing an unlivable place regardless of how much power you have. It won't matter if you're a homeless peasant or if you're in the highest levels of government, nature is the great equalizer and will displace all of Beijing's residents soon enough, except scientists interested in researching the effects of desertification on once-thriving urban centres.

        The 2008 World Champion marathon runner refused to race in Beijing 2008 because of the air quality. I know it's hard for you to accept that Beijing will soon be uninhabitable, especially given the $40 billion spent on the Games, but that's no reason to deflect the Olympic discussion to one about world GDP and fastest growing economies. Please stay on topic, which is actually the top 10 worst Olympic mascots.

        Finally, if you're going to make public statements on the Internet about how great the Beijing mascots, Olympics and so on are, be prepared for a reply from others who take an opposing view. If you can't do that, then any attempt I might make to inform you what I know about civil liberties, human rights and equality would be futile. You must first learn the basics. Freedom of expression implies tolerance for the opinions of others. When you start swearing and lashing out in an impolite manner, it lends the appearance you do not respect another person's right to free expression.

        You obviously like Beijing, the Olympics and the Fuwa a lot. That's great!

        I don't … and that's great too!

        Keep having fun.

    • The authors are listed at the bottom of each article. Sometimes in the text, sometimes underneath the related list links. Tanya, who wrote this article, is one of the best writers and top researchers we use. She is also an editor for this site.

      • I think when K said "this page has no author" he meant that I not a very good "author," not that my name wasn't listed… thanks for pointing me out, though, hopefully I don't have to go into hiding now! 😉

        I can't believe how seriously people take these mascots! Have you seen the new one-eyed monsters that are the mascots for London? I'm giving them an honorary spot on this list…

  25. Izzy (#2) was short for “Whatisit?” And your recognition has nothing to do with Athena and Phevos. Within days of Izzy’s revelation, everyone here in Atlanta was referring to him as “the happy sperm”.

    • Thanks for the info. I always thought Izzy was named as it was because its creators thought the first thing people would say on seeing it would be “Is he a [insert guess]?” 😉

    • Also, as a fellow resident of Georgia, might I add that Izzy’s name was chosen as part of a contest to name him. I was never aware that Izzy was supposed to stand for anything, but I don’t doubt that what you say is true. Not sure what the other popular choices were other than I do remember one of them being ‘Kirby’, which stood out for me because I’m a gamer. I’m not sure if there was some kind of list you could vote on, I only heard the results on the news by chance. Oddly enough, there doesn’t seem to be any information out there about this naming contest (I’m looking now as I write this out of curiosity), maybe some other Ga. resident can vouch for this or offer more information.

  26. Wow, this Blackbird bloke really has an issue with China. I particularly like how you regurgitated the same material multiple times throughout the comments section.

  27. I’ve been to 11 Olympics (so far), and while I have opinions about all of the mascots, I would have to say that seldom has there been anything created more rediculous than the original Izzy. When he was introduced in Barcelona as an animated image superimposed over the stadium during closing cerimonies, his legs were simply attachments, he was propelled by jets of stars coming out of the end of his tail. He was powered by super farts. He then proceded rapidly downhill as he was adjusted and tweeked into the massive sperm cell we’ve known and nausiated over. The only things worse than izzy, was his family. He even had an izzified horse… WOW.

    BTW, Muk Muk was stageringly popular in Vancouver. Anything that had Muk Muk on it was sold out within hours of being released.

  28. Hey, love your list and number 2 Izzy haha poor Izzy just looks a little sad. I enjoyed your list and see a few people above took it a little too serious.

  29. Olly,sid & millie three native animals of austalia Olly isa KOOKABURA a KINGFISHER and their calls have been used in jungle movies SID a PLATIPUS their duck bill and they come from eggs like olly dose and milly ECINA also comes from eggs which is what they also have in common

  30. Great post! Love hearing about the best mascots. Some people hate them, but I always enjoy what they bring to the game. Pretty athletic what they do out there too! I found a fun ranking of all the mascots of the NBA and decided to search for more on them. That’s how I found yours.

    Thanks for the post! Loved it.

  31. MukMuk was my all time favorite. Not only very cute but helped raise awareness of the real life endangered Vancouver Island Marmot.

Leave A Reply