London mascots unveiled

Wenlock, Mandeville show Britains Olympic heritage

London mascots unveiled

 London Olympics mascot Wenlock (left) and Paralympic mascot Mandeville during their launch at St Paul’s School in East London on Thursday. AFP

As the covers were removed by two pupils in front of wide-eyed classmates and LOCOG chairman Sebastian Coe at an east London school a mere javelin throw from the heart of the Games, Wenlock and Mandeville were introduced to the world.  It was the culmination of an 18-month project to come up with an enduring image for the Games and a merchandising gimmick to keep the cash tills ringing as 2012 targets 16 millions pounds ($22.80 million) in revenue from Games memorabilia.

While modern and slightly obscure, the Games Organising Committee (LOCOG) says the mascots recognise Britain's Olympic heritage.

Wenlock is named after the village of Much Wenlock where Pierre de Coubertin visited in 1890 and his idea for a modern Olympics was born. Mandeville is called after the Stoke Mandeville Hospital where the Paralympic movement began shortly after World War II.

Asked to describe exactly what his creations were, designer Grant Hunter of London-based firm Iris, said they were "magical beings" that would become "multi-dimensional" mascots aimed at capturing the imagination of children across the world. A group of invited journalists were given a sneak preview of an animated film based on a story by award-winning children's author Michael Morpurgo who was commissioned by London 2012.

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