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Posted on 7/30/2012 03:32:00 PM

Official Olympic Mascots Through The Years

Filed Under () at 7/30/2012 03:32:00 PM

It's surprising to find out that the first official Olympic mascot was as recent as the 1972 Munich Games. But it's been a go since then, with sometimes as many as five mascots for a single Olympics.

Have a look at the mascots through the years:

1972 Munich, Germany – Waldi the Dachshund
Waldi was the first official Olympic mascot. Modelled on a real Dachshund (the wonderfully named Cherie von Birkenhof), it represented resistance, tenacity and agility, all necessary attributes in world-class athletes. Photograph: paulhillsdon

1976 Montreal, Canada – Amik the beaver
Amik, the beaver from the Montreal 1976 Olympic Games. Amik is an Ojibwe word for beaver. Representing hard work, the beaver is one of Canada’s native animals. © IOC (courtesy of V&A Museum of Childhood)

1980 Moscow, Russia – Misha, Mishka or The Olympic Mishka bear
Misha the bear was designed by Victor Chizhikov, a children’s books illustrator. One of the most popular mascots, Misha had his own TV cartoon. Photograph courtesy of Jussi Katajala

1984 Los Angeles, USA – Sam the eagle
Sam, the American eagle, from the Los Angeles 1984 Olympic Games. Sam was designed by Bob Moore, an artist for Disney. © IOC (courtesy of V&A Museum of Childhood)

1988 Seoul, South Korea – Hodori the tiger
Seoul had a pair of tigers for mascots, but Hodori (“Ho” meaning tiger and “dori” is the male diminutive in Korean) caught the imagination and Hosuni, the female counterpart, was rarely spotted. Photograph: wikipedia

1992 Barcelona, Spain – Cobi the dog

Cobi, a Catalan sheepdog drawn in Cubist style had more than a little of the Picasso about it. It was designed by Javier Mariscal, appeared in several advertisements and starred in a TV series, The Cobi Troupe. Photograph: wikipedia

1996 Atlanta – Izzy (What is it?)
Izzy’s name is derived from “What is it?” Despite an animated television special “Izzy’s Quest For Olympic Gold” and a video game called “Izzy’s Quest for the Olympic Rings” the 1996 mascot remains one of the least popular Olympic mascots. Photograph: Katrinas Toys

2000 Sydney, Australia – Syd, Olly and Millie

The mascots, Syd, Olly and Millie were designed by Matt Hatton and Jozef Szekeres. Representing earth, air and water, Olly, the kookaburra, was a symbol of generosity. Syd, the platypus, stood for the energy and vigour of Australia (and Australians). Millie, the echidna, was a symbol of the Millennium, showing how technologically advanced the country was in 2000.

Syd the Platypus was named for Sydney, the host city in 2000. © IOC (courtesy of V&A Museum of Childhood)

Olly, the Kookaburra was named for Olympics. © IOC (courtesy of V&A Museum of Childhood)

Millie the Echidna was named for Millennium – it was 2000. © IOC (courtesy of V&A Museum of Childhood)

2004 Athens, Greece – Athena and Phevos
Athena and Phevos were the big-feeted Greek mascots. They were based on an archaic terracotta daidala (religious artifact) at the National Archaeological Museum of Athens. Photograph: wikimedia

2008 Beijing, China – Beibei, Jingjing, Huanhuan, Yingying and Nini

Drawing inspiration from the five Olympic rings, four of these playful characters embody the characteristics of China’s favourite animals – the fish (Beibei), panda (Jingjing), Tibetan antelope (Yingying) and swallow (Nini). The fifth (Huanhuan) represents the Olympic flame. The five elements of nature are represented too – the sea, forest, fire, earth and sky.

Each of the mascots has a rhyming two-syllable name and when you put their names together – Bei Jing Huan Ying Ni – they say “Welcome to Beijing”.

Huanhuan © IOC (courtesy of V&A Museum of Childhood)

Jingjing © IOC (courtesy of V&A Museum of Childhood)

Nini © IOC (courtesy of V&A Museum of Childhood)

Yingying © IOC (courtesy of V&A Museum of Childhood)

Beibei © IOC (courtesy of V&A Museum of Childhood)

2012 London – Wenlock and Mandeville

Formed from two blobs of molten steel from a steelworks in Bolton, or so the legend goes, Wenlock is named after Much Wenlock, the town in Shropshire which held the Olympian Society Annual Games, a forerunner of the modern Olympics. Mandeville is named for Stoke Mandeville Hospital, which organised the Stoke Mandeville Games, the precursor of the Paralympics.

They each have cameras for eyes and London Taxi headlights with the first letter of their name. Official Wenlock and Mandeville mascot dolls are available on the VisitBritain Shop.

Mandeville’s head reflects aspects of the Paralympics symbol.

Wenlock wears five friendship bracelets, each one the colour of an Olympic ring. He has three points on his head, representing the three places on the podium (Gold, Silver and Bronze).

via cheapflights.co.uk

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Posted on 7/28/2012 03:15:00 PM

The World of Miniature Art

Miniature Manhattan
New York certainly has a lot of fans in the model-making community. What makes Randy Hage’s creations stand apart though is just how amazingly accurate his vintage building faces actually are.

While Wolfson likes to create imaginary scenes from the big city, Hage uses photos of real New York businesses and then sculpts them at 1/12 their size, in an effort to preserve these landmark structures that are becoming increasingly replaced by national chains. His works are so accurate that without a caption, sometimes it can be difficult to tell which photo shows a real building and which shows his model.

The City
From Mad Max to the Fall Out game series to Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, humans are obsessed with the idea of life after the apocalypse. Contributing to the many visions of this disastrous world is photographer Lori Nix.

In her quest to show what a world without humans might look like, Nix has taken up the art of model-making. The resulting creations could easily be used as source material for any number of post-apocalyptic movies, games or TV shows.

Meshac Gaba’s contribution to “Port City” is even sweeter than Chesko’s model and that’s not a subjective claim –Gaba’s work is made entirely of sugar. His work, included in a larger model show in Liverpool that was dedicated to the imaginary Port City, features some of the most famous buildings on earth, including the Eiffel Tower, the Taj Mahal, the Sydney Opera House and more. No word on if it survived after the show ended in 2008, but if it did get destroyed, let’s hope it was by an army of giant (looking) ants.

Image courtesy of Chrys Omori’s Flickr stream.

Thomas Doyle’s Distillation series features a variety of sweet family scenes that have been twisted into something darker: a family’s home is destroyed with a huge crater; beautiful parks are enclosed in glass domes revealing destroyed houses below; a family stares in wonder as their home is now upside down and mostly under ground. The result is a series of beautiful, sad and surreal stories that the viewer must create for themselves.

Elgin Park
While most model city artists focus on the buildings, Michael Paul Smith seems to be fascinated with the vehicles. In fact, his intricate city scenes, set inside his imaginary town of Elgin Park, serve more as a background to his fantastic die cast car collection. His lovely retro scenes portray an idealized small-town America that is based on the Pennsylvania town Smith grew up in and the backgrounds and vehicles even range throughout the decades.

The Elgin Park series became so popular on Flickr that Smith has since published an entire book of photos showing the beauty of the non-existent town.

Little People

Street artist Slinkachu has made quite a name for himself over the years by creating striking and fascinating scenes right on the city streets with nothing more than tiny figurines placed in strategic locations.

The art installations have become so popular that Slinkachu has even been able to publish four books of his work and maintain a widely-read blog on the creations.

Mini Models
While most model artists either focus on the buildings or the people, Joe Fig is unique in that he constructs entire buildings for his tiny artists to live and work in. Here you can see his interpretation of Jackson Pollock’s massive barn-turned-studio and if you look inside the doorways and windows, you’ll see a tiny version of the master flinging paint across canvas. Interestingly, Fig has even done a self-portrait in the same style, showing him inside his home, working on a tiny version of his own house.

For a deeper look into Fig’s world, you can always take a look at his book, Inside the Painter’s Studio.

Pothole Gardens
Steve Wheen’s work is similar to that of Slinkachu in that they both place tiny details outside in the huge real world, but Wheen’s focus is on tiny pothole gardens complete with props for tiny, invisible people.
Like many of the others on this list, Wheen has since published a book of his many projects, titled The Little Book of Little Gardens.

Urban Sculptures
New York native Alan Wolfson is a big fan of his home town, such a big fan that he bases his main body of work on creating miniature street scenes that look like they’ve been sliced right out of the Big Apple. Interestingly, Wolfson almost never depicts buildings and businesses the way they actually looked. Instead, he combines real buildings and company signs he sees in photos with imaginary ones to help tell a story about the street scene he has created.

For example, “Follies Burlesk” was based on the real Follies Burlesk on 46th and Broadway, but that real business stood on top of a Howard Johnson’s restaurant, and both companies looked decidedly 50’s. Wolfson decided to make the scene look like it existed much later in time and added a classic New York hot dog place, an adult book store and a movie theater screening The Terminator.

Balsa Wood Manhattan
Michael Chesko was a software engineer at Motorola when he started building skyscraper models in his free time with X-ACTO knives, fingernail files and balsa wood. Eventually, he became so obsessed with his miniatures that he realized they could no longer be just a hobby.

His Manhattan model was based on the pre-9/11 skyline and he relied on blueprints, photos and satellite images to guide him. He didn’t even have any first-hand knowledge of the city because he didn’t visit until his project was completed –a task that took over 2000 hours of work.

When the dust settled, his model was 36” by 30” and used a 1:3200 scale. For those interested in viewing Chesko’s work of art, it’s now on display at the Skyscraper Museum in midtown New York.

via mentalfloss.com

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Posted on 7/26/2012 03:31:00 PM

15 Geeky Gifts For Babies

Whether you’re buying a new baby gift for a geeky couple, heading to a baby shower or buying something for your own offspring, I think you’ll see something you like in the next gallery.

Mute Button Pacifier Holder

What every new parent can only dream of...
 Cost: $9.99

SwaddleDesigns Featuring Angry Birds - Ultimate Receiving Blanket

The best baby blanket... ever.
 Cost: $28

Baby Paparazzi Bib

Say cheese!
 Cost: $9.99

Baby DJ Mix Master Bib

Spin some discs, little dude!
 Cost: $9.99

Chowbots Utensils

Do the robot every dinnertime.
 Cost: $14.99

Goodnight iPad

Bedtime stories, the geek way.
 Cost: $14.99

HTML For Babies
Start 'em young with this brilliant book, written by a web designer for his baby.
 Cost: $9.99

Uncle Goose Elemental Blocks

This great gift is an elementary choice for future geeks.
 Cost: $34

Google Sweatshirt Bib

Goo-goo Google!
 Cost: $13.55

Infant Troubleshooting Magnetic Flow Chart

Because babies don't come with a manual.
 Cost: $21.99

Nom Nom Nom Bib

I can has baby food?
 Cost: $5.99

Personalised New Baby Print

Finally, we just love this infographic-style birth record.
 Cost: $33.10

Niko & Lily Techie Baby Art Prints

These are adorable for a nursery wall.
 Cost: $39.95


So wrong, yet so very right...
 Cost: $11.95

<3PrincessesEngraving Teethers

Dribble-proof gadgetry.
 Cost: From $12
via mashable.com

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