VANOC launches search for Games mascot 

Public invited to submit ideas

By Clare Ogilvie

The ideas have been arriving fast and furious at the head offices of the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Winter Games after the launch last week of its search for a mascot.

“Apparently there have been hundreds and hundreds of people who have come onto the website to come and see,” said VANOC CEO John Furlong.

People are suggesting the orca, sasquatch, sea otters, white spirit bears and others as B.C. and Canada warm to the idea of the 2010 mascot.

“It is one of those very precious things that the organizing committee gets to do that allows it to connect in different and meaningful ways with the world,” said Furlong.

“The mascot is one of the faces of the organizing committee, it is one of the things that the organizing committee gets to do that resonates with people everywhere. We want it to be meaningful, thoughtful, to represent the best we have to offer.”

Furlong added that it is a chance for all Canadians to communicate with VANOC and generate debate and discussion on the idea.

The mascot’s got to be a winner since VANOC will use it to help create its brand image and it will also help bring in millions of dollars in merchandising sales. It’s likely the mascot will be on t-shirts, stuffies, clothing, pins — just about everything Olympic that the public will buy into.

VANOC issued the call for “qualified professionals and/or companies specializing in illustration, animation, graphic design, fine arts or other related fields” last week.

The competition is open to artists from around the world but a keen sense of Canada, our values and nation, will be a must to land the contract.

The public can go www.vancouver2010.com to submit ideas, which in turn will be turned over to the winning artist.

Mascots for Games have come in all shapes and sizes since the first one appeared at the 1968 Games in Grenoble, France. “Schuss” the skier is now widely considered the father of all mascots. It was followed by Waldi, the dachshund, the mascot for the 1972 Munich Summer Games.

According to Olympic tradition the mascot is a person, animal, or item that represents good luck.

The 1976 Summer Games in Montreal used “Amik” the beaver while Calgary’s Winter Games in 1988 used polar bears “Hidy and Howdy” — the first male-female duo in Games history.

The mascots for the 2010 Games will be designed in 2007.

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