The London 2012 Olympic Committee introduced the mascots for the Olympics and Paralympics today: Wenlock and Mandeville. Before you laugh at the names of the two Cyclops-looking characters, it might help to know that they are named after real people who have a real link to â€œthe Games.â€
The Olympic Mascot, Wenlock, (the orange and white one) is named for Much Wenlock, a town in Shropshire which, when Baron Pierre de Coubertin visited there in the 1800â€™s, inspired him to found the modern Olympic movement. How? Because of the â€œMuch Wenlock Gamesâ€ that were held there at the time (and are still held every
The Paralympic Mascot, Mandeville, (the blue and white one) is named for Stoke Mandeville, where the Paralympics got their start. In 1948, Sir Ludwig Guttmann held a sports competition there for soldiers who had been injured in World War II, that
coincided with the opening of the London Olympics that year.
(An interesting note for those who think that the word Paralympics comes from combing paralyzed and Olympics. Itâ€™s actually derived from Guttmannâ€™s desire for a â€œparallel Olympicsâ€ for the disabled. Thus. Para â€“ lympics.)
The legend of these odd creatures is that they were made â€œfrom the last two drops of British steel used for the London 2012 Olympic Stadium.â€ An animated video of the process of their creation can be found on the London 2012 website, and involves a newly-retired steelworker named George, his grandkids, and a rainbow.
These mascots are obviously aimed at children. Since I am no longer a child, no matter what my wife may tell you, I turned to my kids for their opinions.
When I showed Wenlock and Mandeville to my kids, the eight-year-old said, "That's cool." The two-year-old said, "Penguin!" Apparently we need to reread the animal book