Emblems and Mascots
This is a land of contrast. Mountain and desert. Sun and snow.
This is a unique culture. Ancient marks are woven into our heritage.
This is about a legacy of courage. At the very heart of the Games are the athletes, the true heroes.
The hare was swifter. The coyote reached higher places. The bear was strong and brave. Meet the mascots for the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City.
The three mascots were unveiled as part of a community celebration on May 15 as Native American Billy Daydodge narrated a story from Utah legend. The mascots and their stories are based on petroglyphs of animal images inspired by the interpretation of Native American tradition, with their corresponding stories reflecting the Olympic motto of Citius, Altius, Fortius, meaning Swifter, Higher, Stronger.
Snowshoe Hare (Swifter): At one time, the sun was burning up the earth. The hare ran swiftly to the top of the mountain. Shooting her arrow at the sun, she dropped it lower in the sky and cooled the land.
Coyote (Higher): When the world turned dark and frozen, the coyote climbed the highest mountaintop and stole the flame from the fire people. He brought warmth back to the earth.
American Black Bear (Stronger): Long ago brave hunters left their villages to track the mighty bear. But the bear was too strong and outlasted the hunters. Today, sons of the hunters continue the chase in the night sky.
"These animals appear as major characters in the myth and stories handed down for generations to modern day Native Americans, the descendants of the ancient artists who produced rock art," said Dr. Laurel Casjens, Utah Museum of Natural History. "I am delighted that the committee has seen fit to honor the cultures who first inhabited Utah and the surrounding areas by using their symbols to represent the modern Olympics."
The SLOC mascot project began in September 1997. Initial sketches were tested in focus groups in three cities (Salt Lake City, Phoenix, Milwaukee). The snowshoe hare, coyote and American black bear were preferred by 80 percent of focus group participants in all age groups. The International Olympic Committee approved the mascot program in December 1998.
The design of the mascot was created by Landor/Publicis, a partnership working under the direction of SLOC that combines Landor Associates' global branding and Olympic expertise with Publicis' knowledge and experience with the Salt Lake community and Intermountain Region. The mascot illustrator was London-based independent contractor Steve Small, who has created character animation for Disney's "Hercules" and Nickelodeon's "Rugrats." The mascot plush creators were Lonna Brown and Becky McFarland of Fruit Heights, Utah, who crafted the large animals from smaller prototypes.
Official Olympic mascots date back to the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich with the Waldi the dachshund, a popular Bavarian dog, as the first mascot. Olympic mascots have come in all shapes and sizes. In the United States, previous mascots have included Roni the raccoon in Lake Placid in 1980, Sam the eagle in Los Angeles in 1984, and Izzy the animated character in Atlanta in 1996.
For the first time, mascots were based on historical figures and named after royal children for the 1994 Lillehammer Games with Hakon and Kristen. Nagano featured four 'snowlets' based on the motif of an owl. Sydney has three animals as mascots as well with a platypus named Syd, an echidna called Millie, and a kookaburra called Olly.
Information courtesy of the Utah Athletic Foundation
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