The 2016 Rio Olympics are on their way and already the mascots for the 2016 games have been presented and named! Ferrebeekeeper has been falling down at monitoring mascot news—the winning candidates were chosen back in November of 2014 (whipping up PR stories for a sports competition which is years away is a long & delicate art).
The 2012 Olympics in London featured stupid avant-garde alien blobs Wenlock and Mandeville who were rightly pilloried by everyone (including this blog). The 2014 Russian Olympics featured a mascot election which Vladimir Putin may have tampered with! So what did Brazil come up with for the big game? The nation is beloved for its beaches, beautiful mixed-race populace, and, above all, for the unrivaled biodiversity of the Amazon Basin—where the world’s largest river runs through the planet’s greatest rainforest. Less admirable features of Brazil include deeply corrupt demagogues, insane crime, irrational love of soccer (which is a sort of agonizingly slow version of hockey), and an underperforming economic sector which has always been 20 years away from greatness. What cartoon figure appropriately represents these dramatic juxtapositions?
This blog wanted a tropical armored catfish to win. Barring that, we were hoping for a beautiful Amazon riverine creature of some sort—maybe a river dolphin, a giant otter, or even a pretty toucan. However, the committee which came up with the mascots did not want anything quite so tangible. Instead they chose two magical animal beings which respectively represent the fauna and flora of Brazil. Fortunately, the mascots are pretty cute (and they are both painted with a bewitching array of tropical colors).
The Olympic mascot represents the multitudinous animals of the rainforest and his name is “Vinicius.” Vinicius is some sort of flying monkey-cat with rainbow colored fur and a prehensile tail. The Paralympic mascot is a sort of artichoke-looking sentient vegetable named Tom (so I guess he is male too—although, names aside, it is sometimes hard to tell with plants).
Vinicius’ long sinuous limbs and tail make him admirably suited for illustrating the many different Olympics sports—and I really like pictures of him shooting archery, running, and lifting weights. Tom seems a bit less suited for athletics, but his winning smile and endearing fronds are appealing in their own right. I guess I am happy with the choice of Olympics mascots. They do a fine job representing the world’s fifth most populous country (in so much as cartoon nature spirits can represent a place so large and diverse). I’m looking forward to seeing more of them (even if I might dream sometimes of what could have been instead).