Mascot or Martian?

London has been invaded. 

Not by crowds and athletes, but by a pair of one-eyed creepy creatures.  The Olympic Mascots.

I am hard pressed to find any souvenirs worth purchasing from the Games.  As an American, I do not really want a Team GB shirt as my allegiance lies elsewhere.  As a sane person, I do not want Wenlock and Mandeville, the Olympic mascots who appear to have arrived from outer space.

Their bizarre names have obscure origins.  The two characters are named after Much Wenlock in Shropshire, the village that hosted a precursor to the Olympics in the 19th century, and Stoke Mandeville hospital, the birthplace of the Paralympic Games. Really?

Even better, according to their backstory, Wenlock and Mandeville are drops of molten steel that flecked off a structural beam during the building of London’s Olympic Stadium.  What?

There is nothing soft or furry about molten metal which makes me wonder whether children will be eager to cuddle with this pair of congealed steel pellets even when stuffed.

Their symbolism is not obvious.  Each mascot sports a yellow light atop its head, as a reference to London’s black cabs, and the Olympic Rings get a nod via Wenlock’s bracelets.   Hmmmm.

Statues of these creatures have popped up everywhere throughout the city.  Apparently Wenlock and I do share something in common as the Bond Street statue is featured carrying a shopping bag filled with shoes.  I’m the first to admit that shoe shopping is good sport, but Olympian in nature...I think not.

Believe it or not, more than 100 designers, artists, and agencies applied for the opportunity to create these mascots, starting back in 2008.  Incredibly, the Cyclopian Wenlock and Mandeville were deemed the best choices.

I guess I’ll just have to turn a blind eye toward this folly.


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