Saturday, December 6, 2014

Rio Olympic Mascot Gets Zoological


 
Voting is underway to name the recently unveiled Rio 2016 Olympic mascot, a yellow creature representing all of Brazil's richly diverse fauna.

In addition to morphing capabilities to help it go faster, higher and stronger than any one jungle beast, the first South American Games mascot can extend its appendages much like a 1970s vintage Stretch Armstrong or his other-worldly and creepier sidekick Stretch X-Ray.

By my count, this little guy is the 30th Olympic mascot with zoological ties, though he also has mythical features similar to a few of his five-ringed mascot peers of past Games.

I write "his" only because promotional materials and video voiceovers seem to indicate the character is male.

It's not yet safe to "assume" which style Brazilian swimwear -- a Speedo-style men's suit or a thong bikini bottom -- would fit across the mascot's backside, complete with long green tail.

As of this post, the to-be-named character gained just over 2,500 Facebook friends (the original and best friend being the Rio 2016 Paralympic mascot), and the official launch video from late November enjoyed 58,500 views so far.

What pair of names will you choose for the Olympic and Paralympic symbols, respectively named either ...
  • OBA and EBA,
  • TIBA TUQUE and ESQINDIM, or
  • VINICIUS and TOM?
The name "Vinicius" is the first name of several famed Brazilian footballers, according to sources.

I could not find more details on any of the other nominated names, though "Jerry" might also work with "Tom" when the more sarcastic of Olympic reporters get hip to this next generation of mascots.

There's not much domestic U.S. media coverage of the unveil, which may mean this Olympic symbol may gain more acceptance than ill-conceived past mascots (no one yet topped "Jimmy Carter's Sperm" from the Atlanta Games, though London was close).

I have yet to find details on which design firm(s), Brazilian or otherwise, played the biggest role in creating the mascots, though the resemblance to Javier Mariscal's outstanding "COBI" for 1992 and the playful Canadian trio of Vancouver creatures makes me suspect a team of Games mascot veterans provided guidance.

I personally like the cartoon version of the yellow guy, but not the 3-D plush costume version.

What do you like (or hate) most about the Rio 2016 mascot?

Happy voting!

Images via Rio2016.com; mascot pictures below via Associated Press/AP/Felipe Dana.

December 17, 2014 Update: The votes are in and Rio 2016 announced the confirmed name Vinicius, with the Olympic mascot named for the poet, playwright and composer of the bossa nova.

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