Ever since Waldi entered our world at the 1972 Olympic Games, mascots have been an essential part of this event. Most of the time, the host countries go out of control with these characters, getting away from the simplicity that's needed in something that is best sold in plush. So without further to do, here are my top five Olympic mascots. Unfortunately, the five "fuwa" from this year's games didn't make the cut.
5. Misha, 1980 Moscow Games
With 62 countries boycotting these games, you won't see too many commemorative Misha items. But we approve of Misha for a couple reasons. When you think USSR and animals, the bear comes up first. And the use of the Olympic rings as a belt is also a plus.
4. Sam, 1984 Los Angeles Games
Simple name (not Whazzit or Izzy) and you have to love the bald eagle designed by Walt Disney Productions.
3. Howdy and Hidi, 1988 Calgary Games
This was the first games to go with a pair of mascots of different genders. I just found an article that I wrote eight years ago that named them among the worst, but I've had a change of heart. I'm allowed to do that, right?
2. Hodori, 1988 Seoul Games
As an 11-year old kid before the age of eBay, I begged for months to get my hands on this friendly tiger, who was quickly replacing my love for that other friendly tiger, Tony.
1. Millie, Olly and Syd, 2000 Sydney Games
The people in Australia definitely got carried away with the descriptions of these critters -- Millie the Echidna was "a techno whiz," Olly the Kookaburra was "a bit cocky" and Syd the Platypus cared more for sportsmanship than winning -- but these three are hands down the most well-designed mascots. Extra points for getting part of the Olympic city in one of the characters names.
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