Creatures Olympian? Not so much


August 22, 2004|By ORLANDO SENTINEL

A quick history of the sordid world of Olympic mascots:

1992: Cobi (a dog, or so we are told) was created by Spanish artist Javier Mariscal. He said he was under the influence of non-performance-enhancing substances during the creative process. "I was very stoned," he said.

1996: Izzy (short for Whatizit), a freakazoid created by the yahoos in Atlanta. Apparently, they had a few creative hours to kill after their Olympic transportation bus got lost.

1998: Sukki, Nokki, Lekki and Tsukki - mascots for the Nagano Games - looked suspiciously similar to Kyle, Stan, Cartman and Kenny, those deviants from South Park.

2004: Athena and Phevos, our new friends from Greece, are cone-shaped caricatures based on a seventh-century terra-cotta doll believed to be one of the first Greek toys.

Our take: Lame.

You would think that the creative groups in charge of these things actually might take the time to give us something snuggly and warm, not some mutant-looking glob.

Apparently, we are not alone in our dissent.

A group that preserves devotion to the ancient Greek gods filed suit against the local organizing committee in June. The group is seeking 3 million euros and a possible ban on the figures.

Panayiotis Marinis, head of the Greek Society of the Friends of the Ancients, claims in the lawsuit that the mascots "savagely insult our religion and identity. We want to see the gods as they are presented in statues, reliefs, etc., and not as parodies."

I wonder whether we can make it a class-action suit and get back some of the money we wasted on that Izzy memorabilia.

The Orlando Sentinel is a Tribune Publishing newspaper.

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