Remember when Olympic mascots made sense, like Sam the Eagle from the 1984 Los Angeles Games? Over the past 20 years, the cute characters have devolved into bizarre, over-symbolized monstrosities of modern art straight out of Pokémon cartoons. London 2012 may be out-weirding all others with mascots Wenlock and Mandeville. Wenlock is named for an English town that held a precursor to the modern Olympics in 1850. Mandeville is named for a hospital that organized what would become the Paralympic Games. According to the fictional story, they came from drops of molten steel used to make the last girder of Olympic Stadium. A retiring steelworker brought the steel drops home and forged them into toys for his grandchildren. A rainbow brought the figures to life, and they left to have adventures … or something. Critics were not kind to the mascots after they were unveiled, and they were mercilessly mocked and parodied on blogs and social media. Some claimed that the various symbols and cycloptic eyes evoked the occult, which London organizers denied. Their eyes are actually cameras for recording their experiences, and other details represent the lights on London taxis, the roof of Olympic Stadium and the three places on the podium.
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