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A History of Summer Olympic Mascots

Yahoo Contributor Network

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.

Hodori, Seoul 1988: South Korea also selected an animal of national importance to promote the Seoul Olympics. The tiger is a symbol of South Korea, and Hodori was a fitting choice for the 1988 Games.

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.

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