The start of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi is a little more than three weeks away. To spark a child’s interest in the Games, Olympic organizers have chosen three different mascots including the Polar Bear, the Hare, and the Leopard. Through mascots, children can learn about the Olympics in a fun, entertaining and engaging way. The three 2014 Winter Olympics mascots even have their own Faceook page with close to 8,000 “likes.” Below is a bit of information about each of the mascots to share with children to spark their interest in the upcoming Winter Olympics, the competitors, and Russia, home of the 2014 Winter Games.
The Polar Bear
The Polar bear lives beyond the Arctic Circle on a shelf of ice. In his home, everything is made out of ice and snow: his snow shower, his bed, his computer and even his weight-lifting equipment. Arctic explorers raised the Polar Bear from a very early age. They taught him how to ski, speed skate and curl. But above all, the Polar Bear enjoyed riding sports sleighs. He became a real bobsleigh pro. These days, the Polar Bear’s friends often set up bobsleigh competitions. During the long Arctic nights, there’s never a dull moment.
The Hare is the busiest creature in the winter forest. Her friends are always amazed by how she finds time to do so much. The little doe hare not only studies at the Forest Academy (where she gets excellent grades) and helps her Mum in the family restaurant, “The Forest Dam”, but she also takes part in sporting events. In addition, she trusts her friends so much that she doesn’t have any secrets. The hare simply loves sports with all her heart. She also loves to sing and dance.
The Leopard is a rescuer and mountain-climber that lives in the uppermost branches of a huge tree, on the highest peak of the snowy mountains in the Caucasus. He is always prepared to help those in need, and on a number of occasions has rescued nearby villages from mighty avalanches. The Leopard is an experienced snowboarder and has taught all his friends and neighbors to snowboard too. He is a cheerful character who enjoys the company of others and loves to go dancing.
All three mascots are much more lovable than Atlanta’s Olympic mascot for the 1996 Summer Games. Izzy was a blue abstract, animated character that never seemed to catch on. Because he was a fantasy figure, he wasn’t as warm and cuddly as the Sochi Polar Bear, Hare and Leopard. However, at least he had a name. The three Sochi Olympic mascots are simply referred to by their animal names.
Olympic mascots made their debut at the 1968 Winter Olympics in Grenoble. They’re usually fictional characters that represent the host country. They also help market the Olympics to children across the world.
The mascots for the last Winter Olympics in Vancouver were Miga, a young sea bear; Quatchi, a young sasquatch; and Sumi, an animal spirit. Below is a list of past Olympic mascots.
- 1968 Winter Olympics in Grenoble: Schuss, a stylized skier
- 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich: Waidi, a Dachshund dog
- 1976 Winter Olympics in Innsbruck: Schneemann, a snowman
- 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal: Amik, a beaver
- 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid: Roni, a raccoon
- 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow: Misha, a bear cub
- 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo: Vucko, a little wolf
- 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles: Sam, a bald eagle
- 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary: Hidy and Howdy, two polar bears
- 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul: Hodori and Hosuni, two tiger cubs
- 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville: Magique, a man-star/snow imp
- 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona: Cobi, a Catalan sheepdog
- 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer: Hakon and Kristin, two Norwegian children
- 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta: Izzy, an abstract figure
- 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano: The Snowlets, four owls
- 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney: Olly, Syd and Millie, a kookaburra, a platypus and an enchidna
- 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City: Powder (snowshoe hare), Cooper (coyote) and Coal (American black bear)
- 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens: Athena and Phevos, brother and sister
- 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin: Neve and Gilz (humanized snowball and ice cube)
- 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing: Beibel (fish), Jingjing (giant panda), Huanhuan (Olympic flame), Yingying (antelope), and Nini (swallow)
- 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver: Miga (mythical sea bear), Quatchi (sasquatch), Sumi (guardian spirit), and Mukmuk (marmot)
- 2012 Summer Olympics in London: Wenlock and Mandeville (drops of steel with cameras for eyes)
To help kids get excited about the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, click on the official website to watch videos about the mascots and to learn how they were selected.
The opening ceremony of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi takes place on Friday, Feb. 7, 2014. Highlights include captivating performances by leading artists who represent the spirit and traditions of the host country, the Athletes’ Parade, the lighting of the Olympic Flame, and the raising of the Olympic Flag. At the end, the president of the IOC will declare the Winter Olympics officially open.
NBC will carry the opening ceremony and many of the competitions. For the latest news about the Sochi Winter Olympics, head to NBC’s official website. In Atlanta, WXIA is the local NBC affiliate.
For a blast from the past, be sure to watch the above video to see Atlanta introduced as the next Olympic host city. It was Izzy’s worldwide debut. If you were lucky enough to live in Georgia’s capital when the 1996 Summer Games took place, it was an experience of a lifetime.
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