LONDON, England, May 19, 2010 – The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) today unveiled its Olympic Mascot, Wenlock and Paralympic Mascot, Mandeville.
Wenlock and Mandeville were created from the last drops of steel left over from the construction of the final support girder for the Olympic Stadium. An animated film, based on a story by children’s author Michael Morpurgo, shows how the figures were brought to life and able to reflect and adapt to their surroundings, changing their appearance depending on the situation.
The mascots’ names reflect the UK’s rich Olympic and Paralympic histories. Wenlock’s name is inspired by the Shropshire village of Much Wenlock where the Aca E Wenlock Games’ was one of the inspirations that led the founder of the modern Olympic movement Baron Pierre de Coubertin to create the Olympic Games. Mandeville’s name is inspired by Stoke Mandeville in Buckinghamshire.
In the 1940s, Dr. Ludwig Guttmann came to Stoke Mandeville Hospital to set up a new spinal unit to help former soldiers suffering from spinal cord injuries. Looking for ways to inspire those in his care, he encouraged them to take up sport, leading to the formation of the Stoke Mandeville Games, widely recognized as a forerunner of the modern Paralympic movement.
LOCOG Chairman Sebastian Coe commented:"We’ve created our mascots for children. They will connect young people with sport and tell the story of our proud Olympic and Paralympic history. By linking young people to the values of sport, Wenlock and Mandeville will help inspire kids to strive to be the best they can be."
Wenlock and Mandeville have a number of unique design features including yellow lights on their heads, inspired by London’s iconic black taxis; Wenlock wears friendship bands in the colors of the Olympic rings and Mandeville wears a timing device to track its personal best. The mascots’ single eye is a camera, which will capture the people they meet, the places they go and the sports they try on their journey to 2012.
The mascots will go on to become a part of London 2012’s " Get Set" education program, with mascot themed resources available for registered schools developed over the coming months. Later this year an online tool will enable people to create their own version of Wenlock and Mandeville. Over the next two and a half years, further versions inspired and created by sportspeople, celebrities and the British public.
Both Wenlock and Mandeville will have a presence online with their own website at www.london2012.com/mascots, which links to their individual Twitter and Facebook sites.
IOC Co-ordination Commission Chairman Dennis Oswald commented: " Since 1972 when Waldi became the first official mascot of the Olympic Games, mascots have played an integral part in the story of their edition of the Games and Wenlock is no exception. Linking a British event that was one of the inspirations for the modern OIympic Games to the 30th edition of the Games, Wenlock will undoubtedly help to spread the message of Olympism across Great Britain and the world, while entertaining young and old alike."
Wenlock and Mandeville were designed by London creative agency Iris, following an intensive selection process that included UK wide focus groups of young people, families and industry experts.