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August 12, 2004

Your "What the Hell?" Olympic Moment

Given my general obliviousness to everything regarding the Olympics, I only just now heard that one of the Olympic mascots is named Athena, which of course makes perfect sense given that the Olympics are taking place in the Goddess' hometown. On the other hand, this is what the mascots look like:

(Athena is in orange. Phevos -- based on the god Apollo -- is in blue)

Someone got paid for those? I am clearly lacking the understanding that allows me to conceive how these microcephalic conic projections somehow embody either their namesake gods, or, for that matter, the spirit of competitive athletics. What sports could such oddly misshapen folk play? With feet like that, it's a miracle they can walk. The people who developed these don't even have the excuse of being deeply stoned, which was the excuse for Barcelona's mascot, pictured below:

Cobi looks like a flesh-colored Keith Haring lycanthrope with one nipple and pubic hair trimmed in the shape of the Olympic Rings, but for God's sake, at least he won't tip over when he moves. I pity the poor bastards in Greece who are going to have to walk around in the inevitable mascot suits. When the drunks start whacking on them like piņatas, they won't even be able to run. They'll just have to waddle ineffectually and whimper until the beatings subside.

Reading up, I am led to understand that these mascots are designed by committee (insert punchline here) and are based on Greek terra cotta dolls from the 7th century BC. Allow me to suggest the reason that archaeologists were able to unearth the dolls in the first place was because some 7th century BC Greek kid buried them as far into the earth as she could possibly dig, because they were ugly even then. They were gifts from your great aunt Medea, her parents said. Pretend you like them. She has anger issues. But as soon as Medea got on her donkey cart, down they went into some hole. Would they stayed there.

I was giving some thought to getting Athena an Athena doll for obvious reasons, but now having seen the mascot, I think I'll probably pass. My daughter deserves a rather better representation of her namesake. And for that matter, so do Athens and the Olympics.

(P.S. A fine time to recycle The Awful Terrible Histories of the Olympic Mascots, which I wrote for the 1996 games. I keep meaning to add additional stories for the mascots since then. I'll get around to it one day. Possibly 2006.)

Posted by john at August 12, 2004 01:08 PM

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