If you’re anything like me, you don’t just watch the Olympics— you go full-fledged, 24/7, all-in during the Olympics. For me, this means following athletes and broadcasters on social media, reading about the economy where the Games are being held, looking up the history of every athlete ever and yes, trying to figure out where the weird slogans and mascots came from.
You may remember 2014’s Sochi games featured the slogan, “Hot. Cool. Yours.” What?
This year’s games in Pyeongchang, South Korea feature the phrase, “Passion. Connected.,” which I can’t even begin to understand, so we should just take a deep dive into the all Olympic mascots.
A Breakdown of All the Good, Bad and Ugly Winter Olympics Official Mascots:
1968 // Grenoble, France
This little guy’s name is Schuss and you don’t have to tell us what he/she looks like. And yes, it’s skiing.
1976 // Innsbruck, Austria
Schneeman seems like a friendly snowman in a cowboy hat, but is it a bunny? Maybe a bunny and Kool-Aid Man? The human version was quite terrifying for children.
1980 // Lake Placid, New York
Roni the Raccoon was pretty cool in cartoon form, but the life-sized guy wasn’t all that great. Also, there were supposed to be an actual raccoon named Rocky at the Games, but he died.
1984 // Sarajevo, Yugoslavia
Supposedly, Vucko was a symbol of the triumph of good over evil, according to the official bulletin of the Games, “The happy Vucko is the symbol of man’s centuries-old efforts to conquer nature, to gain friendship from a beast, to make a wolf become Vucko.”
1988 // Calgary, Canada
Hidy and Howdy were the first brother-sister duo of mascots and those cowboy hats really play up the locale and the family-bonding aspect.
1992 // Albertville, France
Originally, a mountain goat was supposed to be the mascot of the 1992 games, but that got rejected, so the world got Magique– a star-shaped imp.
1994 // Lillehammer, Norway
Haakon and Kristin were historical figures from the 13th century whose destiny is closely linked to Norway and the Lillehammer region: Håkon IV Håkonson, King of Norway from 1217 to 1263, and Princess Kristin, his aunt.
Also, it’s noted over and over again that “Haakon and Kristin are two happy children.”
1998 // Nagano, Japan
Sukki, Nokki, Lekki, and Tsukki were the Snowlets of the Nagano games and are supposed to be owls.
2002 // Salt Lake City, Utah
In cartoon form, Copper, Powder and Coal have an old-school Disney vibe going on. In life-size costume form, they seem like rejected Chuck E. Cheese characters that might not be allowed within 500 feet of a school.
2006 // Turin, Italy
Neve and Gliz look like ClipArt, not Olympians.
2010 // Vancouver, Canada
Sumi, Quatchi, and Miga are pretty legit and feel like the Pacific Northwest.
2014 // Sochi, Russia
The Hare, the Polar Bear and the Leopard had no official names but definitely brought some personality to the Games.
2018 // Pyeongchang, South Korea
Soohorang is a nod to the white tiger and its name comes from, “Sooho”, meaning protection in Korean, symbolizes the protection offered to the athletes, spectators and other participants of the 2018 Games. “Rang” comes from the middle letter of “Ho-rang-i”, the Korean word for “tiger,” and is also the last letter of “Jeong-seon A-ri-rang”, a cherished traditional folk song of Gangwon Province, where the Games will be held.”