The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) unveiled its Olympic Mascot, Wenlock and Paralympic Mascot, Mandeville.
Wenlock and Mandeville were created from the last drops of steel left over from the construction of the final support girder for the Olympic Stadium. 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 will now go on separate journeys, often crossing paths and meeting people all over the UK inspiring them to choose sport as they head towards the London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games.
The mascots' names reflect the UK's rich Olympic and Paralympic histories. Wenlock's name is inspired by the Shropshire village of Much Wenlock where the ÔÇÿWenlock 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.
LOCOG Chairman Sebastian Coe commented: ÔÇ£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.ÔÇØ
A UK wide schools competition has been launched to determine where Wenlock and Mandeville's journeys take them next. Schools which are part of the London 2012 Get Set education programme can invite Wenlock and Mandeville to visit their school and community.
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 colours 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.
The mascots will go on to become a key part of London 2012's ÔÇÿGet Set' education programme, with mascot themed resources available for registered schools developed over the coming months. Pupils will be able to follow Wenlock and Mandeville's progress as they make their way in the world, learning about the Olympic and Paralympic values.
Later this year an online tool will enable people to create their own version of Wenlock and Mandeville, giving the public an unprecedented opportunity to engage with the Olympic and Paralympic mascots. Over the next two and a half years, further versions inspired and created by sportspeople, celebrities and the British public will be regularly featured on the London 2012 website and special edition collectables and toys will be made available for sale.
Both Wenlock and Mandeville constantly try to achieve their personal best and encourage others to follow them. The public will be able to choose which sports Wenlock and Mandeville experience first on the mascot website.
Reflecting London 2012's vision to appeal to young people, both Wenlock and Mandeville will naturally have significant presence online, with their own website at www.london2012.com/mascots which is linked to their individual Twitter and Facebook sites. These sites will give the public a chance to follow the mascots' journey and interact with them.
To celebrate the launch of the mascots, a limited edition run of t-shirts and pin badges has been made available for sale on the London 2012 online shop. With the main range of product going on sale this summer, this preview range is set to become a collector's item in years to come.
LOCOG has also been working with the deaf people in London to develop new sign names for Wenlock and Mandeville which can easily be adopted by British and international sign language users.
Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: 'It's hard to imagine a mascot more in tune with the times...ÔÇª 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.'
Hugh Robertson, Minister for Sport and the Olympics, said: ÔÇ£The launch of the mascots is an exciting milestone in the build-up to London 2012 and will help to bring the personality of the Games to life particularly for young people. With the backing of children who helped to choose the mascots, they will play an important role in inspiring young people to get involved in sport.ÔÇØ
IOC Co-ordination Commission Chairman Dennis Oswald commented: ÔÇ£Since 1972 when Waldi became the first official mascot of the Olympic Games, mascots have played an integral part in the story of their edition of the Games and Wenlock is no exception. Linking a British event that was one of the inspirations for the modern OIympic 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.ÔÇØ
IPC President Sir Philip Craven said: ÔÇ£The mascot for the London 2012 Paralympic Games is marvellous. I congratulate the London 2012 Organising Committee for the excellent choice of this unique mascot. 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 were designed by London creative agency Iris, following an intensive selection process that included UK wide focus groups of young people, families and industry experts.
To find out everything about Wenlock and Mandeville, please click here.