Thu, May 20, 2010
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London unveils 1-eyed Olympic mascots

2010-05-20 02:32:05 GMT2010-05-20 10:32:05 (Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

London 2012 launches Olympic mascot Wenlock(L) and Paralympic mascot Mandeville on Wednesday, May 19, 2010. The two cartoon animations were created from the last drops of steel left over from the construction of the final support girder for the Olympic Stadium. (Xinhua Photo)

London 2012 launches Olympic mascot Wenlock(L) and Paralympic mascot Mandeville on Wednesday, May 19, 2010. The two cartoon animations were created from the last drops of steel left over from the construction of the final support girder for the Olympic Stadium. (Xinhua Photo)

London 2012 launched Olympic mascot Wenlock and Paralympic mascot Mandeville here on Wednesday.

The two cartoon animations were created from the last drops of steel left over from the construction of the final support girder for the Olympic Stadium.

London 2012 organizers introduced the interactive mascots on Wednesday, and predicted they will be a big hit with children and help inspire young people to get involved in Olympic sports.

London organizing committee chairman Sebastian Coe says kids don't want cuddly toys as mascots and prefer "something they can interact with and something with a good story behind it."

Wenlock is named after Much Wenlock, a town whose local games helped inspire the modern Olympics. Mandeville is named after Stoke Mandeville, a town where the Paralympic movement was founded.

Coe said: "We've created our mascots for children. They will connect young people with sport and tell the story of our proud Olympic and Paralympic history. By linking young people to the values of sport, Wenlock and Mandeville will help inspire kids to strive to be the best they can be."

The two mascots were launched publicly on the BBC One show at 7p.m. on Wednesday with an animated film, based on a story by children's author Michael Morpurgo, shows how the figures were brought to life and are able to reflect and adapt to their surroundings, changing their appearance depending on the situation.

Wenlock and Mandeville have a number of unique design features including yellow lights on their heads, inspired by London's iconic black taxis. Wenlock wears friendship bands in the colors of the Olympic rings and Mandeville wears a timing device to track its personal best.

The mascots' single eye is a camera, which will capture the people they meet, the places they go and the sports they try on their journey to 2012.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: "It's hard to imagine a mascot more in tune with the times...Wenlock and Mandeville will prove a winning formula, a solid coalition that will capture our imagination and help build a lasting legacy for our fabulous Games. "

Wenlock's name is inspired by the Shropshire village of Much Wenlock where the "Wenlock Games" was one of the inspirations that led the founder of the modern Olympic movement Baron Pierre de Coubertin to create the Olympic Games.

Mandeville's name is inspired by Stoke Mandeville in Buckinghamshire. In the 1940s, Dr. Ludwig Guttmann came to Stoke Mandeville Hospital to set up a new spinal unit to help former soldiers suffering from spinal cord injuries.

Looking for ways to inspire those in his care, he encouraged them to take up sport, leading to the formation of the Stoke Mandeville Games, widely recognised as a forerunner of the modern Paralympic movement.

IOC Co-ordination Commission Chairman Dennis Oswald commented: "Linking a British event that was one of the inspirations for the modern Olympic Games to the 30th edition of the Games, Wenlock will undoubtedly help to spread the message of Olympism across Great Britain and the world, while entertaining young and old alike."

IPC President Sir Philip Craven said: "During its journey in the upcoming two years, Mandeville will report about the Paralympic Movement and inspire people to learn about the Paralympic values and achievements of Paralympic athletes. I am sure that it will be loved by children all over the world."

Wenlock and Mandeville will now go on separate journeys, often crossing paths and meeting people all over the Britain inspiring them to choose sport as they head towards the London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games.

Wenlock and Mandeville were designed by London creative agency Iris, following an intensive selection process that included Britain wide focus groups of young people, families and industry experts.

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