Meet Wenlock and Mandeville: The London 2012 Olympic Mascots

They’re cute, shiny, full of personality, and about to become very, very famous.

Meet Wenlock and Mandeville, the London 2012 Olympic Mascots.

The two characters were unveiled earlier today on the BBC and in a fantastic animated film on the 2012 website. (Listen out for Simon Russell Beale doing the voiceover!)

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.

And they certainly are modern: they already have their own facebook pages and twitter feeds, and their eyes said to be “cameras” watching and recording the goings on in the lead up to 2012.

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…

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  1. Lilac says:

    So cute! Can members of the public buy them?

  2. Tommo says:

    Meh – I’m not convinced… Why do they only have one eye? Maybe they’ll grow on me

  3. Martin says:

    Well I say, I’m pleased as punch to see the great British tradition of made-do-and mend being employed to create Wenlock and Mandeville. Good show!

  4. I think they’ve come under a lot of criticism but definitely original! At least they aren’t the clichés of yester year!

  5. I think they are a breath of fresh air. They stray away from convention and definitely aren’t clichés.

    They may not be to everyone’s taste to begin with but I’m sure they’ll grow on people!

    Hopefully the sotry behind them will also inspire people to look into their local history more too!

  6. Claire Doble says:

    I like ‘em

  7. Jordana says:

    Hi,

    We are an industrial design studio from Barcelona TRIADISSENY. This is the mascot that we would have liked to offer to you, but unfortunately we couldn’t. As you will see, in our web site: http://www.triadisseny.cat, it is the Cheshire Cat, we thought that it was a traditional English icon. We designed a mascot that went together with the Logo, this was our intention.

    It is a pity but we couldn’t register for the competition, in our opinion, the rules were intended for big companies, we tried to contact some companies but we didn’t receive any response.

    On the other hand, it seemed reasonable that the company to win the contest had to be English and, for us, compete would mean a great effort without much hope.

    By the way, we designed the mascot of the 2008 International Expo, where the theme was the water.

    Anyways, we want to show you what we have done and we hope you like it.

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