On Olympic mascots and misled youth

Finally! Interesting Olympic Games on sight!

I barely remember Sam the Eagle (Los Angeles, 1984), but interestingly Misha the bear (the Soviet mascot in the 1980 games) for some random reason stuck in my mind until today.

Chinese population is about 22 per cent of the total, so I guess that 1.295m Chinese couldn’t have enough with just one mascot. Since we are a few months away from the games, I think that it would be nice to introduce you to this year’s games five mascots:

  • Bèibei, a fish
  • Jīngjing, a giant panda
  • Huānhuan, the Olympic flame
  • Yingying, with a Tibetan antelope design
  • Nīni, with a swallow

To me, all of them look like Panda version of the Power Rangers, but after seeing the London logo that £400,000 could buy, I look forward to their a Labour civil servant in flames? Gordon Brown’s left eye hugging a dying Thames whale? I cannot even sleep thinking of millions of pounds can buy in terms of mascot design!!

But going back to what makes interesting this year’s games other than the Panda Rangers is the fact that we are back to global interest in the games. Not even the Atlanta explosion in 1996 attracted so much interest.

In the good old cold war days, USA decided not to send its sportswomen and men to the 1980 Moscow Olympics and European countries (plus Puerto Rico) competed under the Olympic flag. Now, that, is a statement!

1984 came, and in this case it was communist countries (plus Iran and Libya) who boycotted the Los Angeles games… poor Sam the Eagle.

But it seems that the No Logo generation cannot rely on their governments to take action. As a matter of fact, can we be sure that access for China to the World Trade Organisation and the Olympics are not a trade off for opening their massive domestic markets to western companies?

As I said before, Governments with older members and only interested The NoLogians can only sign up to the global trend en vogue. Bad news for Gore, Greenpeace and friends, since it seems that the name of the game now is Tibet, not global warming. However, if they keep changing focus at breakneck speed, they keep making a joke of themselves and they are giving a reason to governments and senior fellow citizens not to take them seriously.

It seems we are in the weekend revolution era. The fashionable thing to do these days is trying to put out the Olympic Flame. At least streaking can take place any time of the year at any event, not every four years. I wonder how many of these Tibet-lovers will be caring so much about the mountain state once the Olympic flame is put (officially) down for good. It seems that the shouting mouths have taken the Beastie Boys’ hymn a bit too far with their Fight for Your Right (to Riot!).

Looking ahead, I was lucky enough to work in Southern Africa for a while, and I keep really good memories and friends of RSA, so I just hope that the 2010 FIFA World Cup will not be another farce. But the massive investment in the Gautrain project along with the energy cuts of late… don’t look good to me.

Until tomorrow,



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