They may not have any medals, but this diverse bunch thrives in the spotlight.
A glance at the mascots of the Summer Olympics:
Waldi, Munich 1972: It all started with Waldi, the colorful Dachsund that became the first official mascot of the Olympics. Waldi was a representation of the values of resistance, tenacity, and agility.
Amik, Montreal 1976: In 1976, the mascot underwent a transformation, becoming a beaver named Amik. Like Olympic athletes, beavers are known for their tireless efforts.
Misha, Moscow 1980: The U.S. boycotted the Moscow Games, but a brown bear named Misha was on hand. Over 30 years later, a mascot somewhat resembling Misha was chosen for the upcoming 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia.
Sam, Los Angeles 1984: The mascot took to the sky in 1984 with the introduction of a bald eagle called Sam. Walt Disney Productions thought up the design, giving the mascot version of the national bird a less serious look than that of a real eagle.
Cobi, Barcelona 1992: The bark returned to the Olympics in 1992. Emerging as the mascot in Barcelona was Cobi. A sheepdog created by a Valencian artist, Cobi had a television series designed to spread the Olympic spirit.
Izzy, Atlanta 1996: The Olympics were back on U.S. soil in 1996, this time on the East Coast. The mascot, Izzy, is difficult to describe. A blue blob with big eyes, Izzy received less than favorable reviews.
Syd, Millie, & Ollie, Sydney 2000: A trio of native Australian animals was selected for the 2000 Sydney Olympics. The names of the smiling creatures are short for Sydney, Millennium, and Olympic Games.
Phevos & Athena, Athens 2004: Greece attempted to draw on its ancient Olympic roots in creating the symbol for Athens. Phevos and Athena are named after Greek deities.
Five Friendlies, Beijing 2008: The number of mascots multiplied in Beijing, with five dolls representing the Games. Four had characteristics of Chinese animals, with the other standing for the Olympic flame.
Wenlock & Mandeville, London 2012: London features the most technologically savvy mascots. The pair may look bizarre, but each has Facebook and Twitter accounts.
Aaron Griggs thinks a mascot race should be an official Olympic event. Hey, it's okay to dream.
- Sports & Recreation