This morning, the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing unveiled its official mascot: Bing Dwen Dwen, a wide-eyed cartoon panda characterized by its crystalline suit of ice, piercing stare and love of winter sports. “Based on China’s iconic animal,” Chinese news agency Xinhua writes, “Bing Dwen Dwen shows vitality of life through its modern design and sense of technology.”
Bing Dwen Dwen (accompanied above by Shuey Rhon Rhon, the lantern child mascot for the 2022 Paralympics) is undeniably cute and cuddly, somewhat reminiscent of Beijing’s cartoon representatives from the 2008 Summer Games. But with more than 50 years of history preceding it, how does the ice panda compare to the Olympic mascots of yore?
Here are Ad Age’s picks for the 5 best and worst mascots from Olympic history:
The 5 Best
5. Beijing 2008
The 2008 Olympics had not one, but five mascots—the most of any Olympics in history. Peppered with symbolism, Beibei the fish, Jingjing the panda, Huanhuan the “child of fire,” Yingying the antelope and Nini the swallow corresponded to the five natural elements and the five Olympic rings. Even their names were formed by repeating the Mandarin syllables for “Welcome to Beijing” (Bei Jing Huan Ying Nin). If the Olympics have taught us anything, it’s that symbolism can and has been overdone, but Beijing 2008 seems to have gotten it just right.
4. Munich 1972
A stylized Bavarian dachshund, Waldi the dog was the first Summer Olympics mascot in history, and a strong one at that (the concept of Olympic mascots had only been introduced four years earlier in Grenoble, France). Based on a real dog named Cherie von Birkenhof, Waldi was so popular at the 1972 Games, in fact, that the Olympic marathon route was shaped like a dachshund to resemble him. He’s a timeless mascot who has outlived many of his unremarkable, repetitive successors—and the perfect complement to Munich 1972’s classic logo.
3. Pyeongchang 2018
Soohorang is a white tiger, long considered to be a guardian animal in South Korea that has a prominent place in traditional folklore. As a tiger, Soohorang’s popularity was no surprise: the 1988 Olympics held in Seoul also featured an anthropomorphic tiger named Hodori. Soohorang is a friendly, refined, winter-themed version of his 1988 counterpart, and one of the few mascots who translates into a real-life costumed character with ease.
2. Sarajevo 1984
Vučko may best be remembered as a mascot, but the smiling wolf had a life long before his Olympic debut. Initially created as a cartoon that ran in Yugoslavian newspapers in the early ‘80s, his selection as the 1984 Winter Olympics mascot was a clear choice—the other finalists included a snowball, a weasel and a mountain goat. Shortly after the Olympics, war broke out in Yugoslavia, but Vučko and the memory of the Games endured as one of the last uniting events in a country that quickly split into seven.
1. Vancouver 2010
Created by Meomi Design, Quatchi the sasquatch and Miga the sea bear were inspired by the lore of …read more
Via:: Ad Age B to B