Indiana Daily Student

Olympics mascots stir debate

Quatchi, Sumi and Miga: not anime characters, but Olympic mascots.

The trio was designed by Vicki Wong and Michael Murphy of Meomi Design, a Vancouver-based business described as “a little design studio dedicated to play, delight and goodness” on its Web site.

Wong and Murphy were asked to enter about 20 different designs in a contest to see which mascots would best represent Vancouver and were delighted when a committee chose Quatchi, Sumi and Miga.

The animals are all inspired by creatures of the First Nation, or aboriginal peoples of Canada.

Quatchi, a young Sasquatch, is the first of his kind ever to be seen in Canada. Miga, a seabear, is part killer whale, part bear. Sumi is an animal spirit, wearing an orca whale hat, the wings of a thunderbird and the legs of a black bear.

Many have embraced the childlike qualities of the three fabled animals.

In an ESPN article, reporter Shane Igoe said the mascots look like “high-concept Nickelodeon cartoon characters.”

Others have criticized the mascots for being frivolous.

“They’re friendly looking, but at the same time they’re childish,” said junior Arnold Jones, an aspiring sportswriter. “I know the Olympics are for everyone to watch, but these mascots are a little too ‘PG.’”

However, Jones said the host country did a good job with creating mascots that tap into the history and heritage of Canada.

A short video of the mascots found on Vancouver2010.com is preceded by the message, “Dedicated to all children and critters with a dream.”

Creators Wong and Murphy have stuck to their company’s credo of “play, delight and goodness” while inspiring the youth of the world with mythical creatures that draw on the country’s heritage.

While many of the past Winter Olympic mascots have been notorious for not being accessible and easily recognizable, retail potential for Vancouver’s mascots have skyrocketed. The Olympic store offers plush mascot toys, collectible coins with Quatchi, Sumi and Miga engraved on both sides, and many other types of accessories.

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