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2012 Olympic mascots cop a shoeing

Wenlock and Mandeville: 'Cretinous infantilism'

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LogoWatch The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (Locog) had better run for cover and batten down the hatches - if intial reaction to its official 2012 mascots is anything to go by.

The 2012 Olympics logoFollowing the Lisa Simpson blowjob logo debacle, and subsequent epilepsy-inducing animated footage scandal, Locog was apparently "keen" to avoid another clobbering over the official games representatives.

Accordingly, it drafted in "focus groups of children and families" to create something touchy-feely for the kiddies, and children's author Michael Morpurgo "added a story concept for an animated series", as the BBC puts it.

Locog supremo Lord Coe declared: "We've created our mascots for children. They will connect young people with sport, and tell the story of our proud Olympic and Paralympic history."

The Olympic mascots Wenlock and MandevilleWell kids, here you have Wenlock and Mandeville (right and left in pic) - "named after the village of Much Wenlock in Shropshire - which hosted a precursor to the modern Olympic Games in the 19th Century - and the birthplace of the Paralympic Games, Stoke Mandeville hospital in Buckinghamshire".

The BBC explains: "Olympic motifs chime through the design: Wenlock wears the Olympic rings as friendship bracelets, and although predominantly silver in colour, also contains flashes of gold and bronze.

"Mandeville's head reflects aspects of the three crescent shapes of the Paralympics symbol.

"In a deliberate homage to London taxis, each has a yellow light on top of its head, with an initial in the middle."

Lovely. Or not, according to design critic Stephen Bayley, who thunders in today's Telegraph: "What is it about these Games which seems to drive the organisers into the embrace of such patronising rubbish? If London 2012 is going to be remembered for its art, then we can declare it a calamitous failure already."

Working up a good head of steam, Bayley continues: "They already have the worst logo which has ever been designed, and now they have these horrible computer generated Smurfs for the iPhone generation."

Just to make sure we've got his opinion of Wenlock and Mandeville absolutely straight, Bayley fulminates: "Why do we have to endure this sort of cretinous infantilism, and this awful lowbrow pandering to primitive ideas of fun?"

Crikey. If we have to apportion blame for this outrage, then it's the young 'uns who must take the rap. Lord Coe said of his juvenile focus group: "The children told us a number of things: they weren't that sold on furry animals and they actually wanted a story."

Alternatively, you might want to point the finger elsewhere. The Beeb notes that the mascots represent "an important revenue generating tool for the Games, and Locog's commercial partners were consulted throughout the design process". ®

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