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They’re cute, shiny, full of personality, and about to become very, very famous.
Fashioned from drops of steel left over from girders in the Olympic Stadium by an elderly steelworker, the two mascots magically come to life in a lovely, modern fairytale.
But for those of you looking for a nod to the traditional, and the historic nature of the Olympics and the city of London itself, you can find these too. On their heads, Mandeville and Wenlock have lights like a London cab; and most interestingly, their names are inspired by key moments in Olympic history.
Wenlock‘s name comes from:
Much Wenlock in Shropshire, a town that is at the heart of Olympic history. In the 19th century, Baron Pierre de Coubertin was invited there to watch the “Much Wenlock Games” inspired by the Olympic Games of ancient Greece. De Coubertin was inspired by the Wenlock Games too, and went on to found the modern Olympic movement.
Mandeville’s name is a nod to:
Stoke Mandeville in Buckinghamshire, the birthplace of the Paralympic Games. On the same day as the Opening Ceremony of the London 1948 Olympic Games, Sir Ludwig Guttmann held his own sport competition in Stoke Mandeville for World War II soldiers with spinal injuries. It was no coincidence – Sir Ludwig dreamed of a “parallel Olympics” for athletes with disabilities. The Stoke Mandeville Games grew and grew until they became the Paralympic Games.
Like any newborn twins, I’m not sure I can tell them apart just yet, but I certainly think once we get to know them better, they’re going to be a hit! I think the ideas behind the pair of them going around to learn about all the Olympic sports is a really nice touch for kids. And I hope they’ll be a big success.
What do you think of the London 2012 Olympic Mascots? Let us know…