Šóńńźą˙ āåšńč˙
Home page Site map

All articles issues

Our Olympic zest (1656)
Maksim Fyodorov, editor-in-chief of the Publishing House «MediaYug»  
Dmitry Medvedev, the president of the Russian Federation: «We must take this unique chance» (1780)
Jacques Rogge, the president of the International Olympic Committee «We trust Russia» (1684)
Leonid Tyagachev, the President of the Russian Olympic Committee: «Nothing But Gold!» (1711)
Vitaly Mutko, the minister of sports, tourism and youth policy of the Russian Federation «The Olympic Games will build up the authority of our power» (1958)
Dmitry Kozak, the minister of the regional development of the Russian Federation: «The money invested into the Olympics won’t be wasted» (1746)
«The Young and Daring Want to Win» (2003)
Nobody wants to risk the success (1725)
Russians are leading. Sport victories consolidate people better then political speeches (1646)
Line up! (1966)
The Roads to the Big Sport (1689)
The Olympic State Standard (1746)
Staff means everything (1684)
New-ploughed field–2014 (1715)
The Team of Our Pride (2140)
Reloading. Political sport projects «Moscow–1980» and «Sochi–2014» have a lot in common (1935)
The Olympic necklace (1943)

Gentle Misha and the rest. Olimpic symbols represent not only the Games, but the countries where they take place

¹ 1 (2008)
Viewed: 2214

The origins of Olympic good luck charms go back to the middle of the last century, and they are meant to bring happiness. Not personal happiness, joy for all: for the athletes and their fans. The destiny of a lucky charm for the Sochi Olympic Games of 2014 will be decided only in 3 years. But now, before the final choice is made, we need to recall all magical attributes of the past Olympic Games Lucky charms of winter Olympic Games have been around for almost 40 years.

The very first one, which appeared in 1968, was not considered to be official. Red Doughboy — skier, named Schuss, was being sold so successfully as a badge and little statuette, that this fact made the International Olympic Committee think more seriously about introducing a new idea to the public. But the Schuss itself was practically «not legal».

Sapporo of 1972 had no charm. The victorious way of the Winter Olympics lucky charms began in 1976. Since then the symbols of the Games and their visual brand style have enormous meaning not only for the national interests struggle within the IOC but they began to influence on the very visual identity of a state. The Olympic Games have always been not only a sport event, but a political one as well—Olympic symbols represent not only the Games, but the countries, where they take place. In such a way, for example the Olympic Bear took its stable place in the symbols set of the USSR.

Innsburck, 1976
Snowman Olimpiamandle

History. The lucky charm represented a little snowman, symbolizing simple and modest character of the Games, which are remembered as «The Games of Simplicity».

Attitude. For Austrian people this lucky charm brought many victories in skiing. But some witty people spread the gossips that the Winter Innsbruck symbol looked more like a hybrid of Red-Riding Hood and Jewish rabbi.

Lake Placid, 1980
Raccoon Roni

The coloration of raccoon’s little face looked as if it had a protective hat and glasses on, just like the athletes of the winter games wore. The mask-glasses, which protected the courageous little Roni, became extremely popular.

Saraevo, 1984
Wolf Vuchko

Being copied on millions of images, the Wolf Vuchko looked serious, but joyful at the same time. He symbolized the people’s wish to «be friendly to the animals and get back to the nature». The Yugoslavian lucky charm is recognized one of the most captivating personage in the history of the Olympic Games.

Calgary, 1988
Polar Bears Howdy and Heidi

They are inseparable brother and sister. The name «Heidi» is derived from «hi»-hello. And «Howdy», in the Western-American dialect has just the same meaning. These paired lucky charms reflect Canadian hospitality. Canadian Bears had been very popular during the Games, but were forgotten pretty soon afterwards: their image and charisma lacked something.

Albertville, 1992
Dwarf Magic

The figure of a half-man—half-god is the embodiment of «concept of a dream and imagination», due to its unusual star shape. Two years before the Games the role of lucky charm was meant to be performed by a mountain dear, but since it was not very popular, it had to «retire». This was the first time of a lucky charm substitution. Romantic souls liked its star-like shape, but more pragmatic ones remarked that the mountain dear would have been closer to them.

Lillehammer, 1994
Little boy and girl: Khokon and Christine

Brother and sister from Norwegian folk tales wearing traditional outfits were put into production as toys and little souvenirs, they were seen on badges, postcard, stickers. Pretty blond pair reflected a cheerful and strong character of Nordic people. These symbols are good example, of how popularity and sale success can go hand in hand.

Nagano, 1998
Snowlets Sukki, Nokki, Lekki and Tzukki

 Since the Games take place once in four years, the lucky charm is made up of four elements, four owls, — this is the way the Japanese logic works. Very unusually looking baby-owls pushed away a weasel, which had been confirmed to be a charm before. Though little snowlets were extremely popular in the Land of the Rising Sun, they did not find such popularity outside their homeland. Most guests thought the design to be very primitive, and their images lacked meaning and warmth.

Salt-Lake City, 2002
Rabbit, Coyote and Grizzly

As the ancient Indian legend said, many years before the white rabbit Powder ran up to the top of the mountain and shoot the arrow into the sun, so it would come down and stop burning the land. The Red coyote Copper brought fire to the people from the top of the highest mountain. And black bear Cole was so strong, that even the best hunters could not kill him. American people were enchanted by their lucky charms almost as much as by Mickey Mouse. As for the snobbish Europeans, the American cartoons with Latin subtitles just were not convincing enough.

Turin, 2006
Snowflake Neve (she)and Icicle Glitz (he)

These two symbolic characters represented winter sports and completed each other. In the demo commercials those playful little people were always hugging. They became the symbols of a young generation-full of life and energy. But they seemed asexual and faded to the American and Russian guests.

Vancouver, 2010
Miga, Kuatchi and Sumi — a sea-bear, yeti and a spirit of the animals

As the chairman of the Organizational Committee of the Olympic Games – 2010 John Farlong said, «These lucky charms are to reflect the people, the land and the spirit of British Columbia and the entire Canada». 800 Canadian students were the first to evaluate the creative work of the authors, and they gave their votes to Miga.

Sochi, 2014
Unknown Hero

The offi cial version of the lucky charm for the Sochi Olympic Games will not be known until 2011. Every person have a chance to offer the unique design — all you need is to create your own variant and mail it to the Sochi-2014 Claim Committee site or to its chief executive Chernyshenko Dmitry at the address: chernyshenko@mtu-net.pp.ru. Children’s drawing as well as professional ones are admitted. Right now the most dominating image is the one of the bear — similar to the lucky charm of the Games — 1980 in Moscow. Other contender are a brown bear, a polar bear, three bears altogether (from Shishkin’s painting), a little bear Umka, and a bear with an accordion.

Among other animals offered is a dolphin — downhill skier. A snowman, a crab, a seagull, a golden lamb, baby mammoth and a squirrel with five nuts were also suggested to consideration. Quite extravagant variants are offered as well: five fingers with the diamond ring on each one, five gas pipes arranged into the Olympic symbol. But it is possible they will go back to the old experienced Cheburashka.

Expert opinion

The Olympic symbol: just a tribute to fashion, a commercial object, a cultural phenomenon, some sort of sport superstition or something else?

Fokina Ekaterina, a designer of magazine «Choose!»:

— I believe the lucky charm is a tradition first of all. Then, it is a «local hue». And of course, money is made on such symbolic goods: the investors need to get some part of their money back. The symbol should provoke some esthetic emotions. It didn’t always work out, for example, the beaver. It truly does not evoke any patriotic feelings, pride for the country or a desire to win. Also, I do not like to see more then one element in a lucky charm. Why did they have three heroes for the lucky charm of the Vancouver Games? Maybe they just could not made up their mind?

Gluschenko Maxim, a designer, «Profit Group»:

— In my personal opinion, creating the Olympic symbols is the most diffi cult «stunt» in graphic design. The symbol should be not only original, up-to-date, have a clearly-cut national hue, but it has to be recognized and well associated by other nationalities as well. The best example is the logo for the Moscow Games of 1980— the Kremlin towers on one side and a very typical design for 80s on the other — lines, geometry, optical illusions (try to remember the design of records and books of that time). The logo of 2008 Beijing Games is very interesting as well. First a «simple» hieroglyph is seen, but looking attentively one can see a running mad holding a fire torch!