By Pete Wilson
19 May 2010
The mascots for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games were revealed today: Wenlock and Mandeville.
The full story of their background and future can be seen on the official 2012 site, and on a special mascots sub-site. You can also see images and watch in different languages here, in our features section. Adults may possibly scratch their heads and wonder what on earth the attraction is; but then mascots are not really there to attract adults, and never have been.
The fabulous story of this new pair’s creation is told in the animated video tale below. As the story goes, 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. The animated film is based on a story by children’s author Michael Morpurgo, and 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 ‘Wenlock 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 said: “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.”