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    Izzy’s long run as worst Olympic mascot is over

    ATLANTA (AP) – Hey, Izzy, we’ve got some good news.Your 26-year reign as the worst Olympic mascot is over.

    The much-despised, often-ridiculed, computer-generated blob from the 1996 Atlanta Games has been toppled as the GOAT (Grossest Of All Time) by a… well, we’re not quite sure what it’s supposed to be.

    A blood droplet?

    A French version of Gumby? (Where’s Eddie Murphy when you need him?)

    After a further bit of research, we discover the mascot for the 2024 Paris Olympics is a hat known as a Phryge, which would be great if they were staging Les Misérables instead of the world’s grandest sporting event in two years’ time.

    “I would like it better if they made a mascot that looks like Jean Valjean instead of this thing,” said an avid Olympic collector Andrew Kollo.

    Izzy, the mascot of the Olympic Games of Atlanta 1996, dances at the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland in 1995. PHOTOS: AP
    Mascots of the 2024 Paris Olympic Games (R) and Paralympics Games, a Phrygian cap, jump during a preview in Paris

    The Phryge is a floppy, cone-shaped cap that dates to ancient times but is largely associated with the French Revolution of the 1700s. After a meeting, Paris organisers said, “Hey, why don’t we stick some eyes and legs on this ugly hat and make it our mascot?”

    Voila, the symbol of the next Summer Games was born. “It seems like we’ve run out of animals,” grumbled president of the Olympin Collectors Club Don Bigsby, “so now we’re just creating cartoon characters”.

    Les Phryges – there’s one each for the Olympics and Paralympics, basically identical except the latter was given a blade in place of one of its legs – were quickly met with worldwide scorn after their unveiling on Monday.

    It was a reaction not unlike the one that greeted Whatizit, the original name of Atlanta’s tear-shaped abomination that was first unleashed at the closing ceremony of the 1992 Barcelona Games.

    To that point, Olympics mascots had always been some sort of animal or person or, at the very least, a mythical creature associated with the host country.

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