The London 2012 Olympics unveiled its mascots May 19 to almost universal (and predictable) jeers (“They look pants,” read one comment on Brit tabloid the Mirror’s website).
Mandeville and Wenlock, complete with a charming backstory found on london2012.com/mascots, will not only encourage children to take up sports but also help drive a multimillion-dollar merchandising and licensing plan for the Games.
But let’s face it, Olympic mascots are never embraced right away — they have to grow on you. Barcelona’s Picasso-inspired dog is now much-loved, as is Seoul’s tiger. But Atlanta’s 1996 mascot Izzy, still looks, well, wrong.
The new mascots got off easy the day after the unveiling, as news of pop star Ronan Keating separating from his wife of 12 years pushed the Olympian pair from the front pages.