Yesterday, the organizers of the 2012 London Olympic Games unveiled their two mascots, Wenlock and Mandeville.
The pair are based on a short story by children's author Michael Morpurgo that tells how they were fashioned from droplets of the steel used to build the Olympic stadium. They will be crucial in raising funds and spreading messages about the games.
Wenlock, named after the Shropshire town of Much Wenlock that helped inspire Pierre de Coubertin to launch the modern Olympics, and Mandeville, inspired by the Buckinghamshire town of Stoke Mandeville, where the Paralympics were founded, will become very familiar in the next two years. The chairman of the London organising committee of the Olympic games (Locog), Lord Coe, said the mascots were aimed squarely at children and designed with the digital age in mind. He said they had the most positive reaction in workshops to road test them.
Among the designs rejected at the start of an open pitch process were anthropomorphic pigeons, an animated tea pot and a Big Ben with arms and legs.
You know, I think I could warm up to anthropomorphic pigeons a little quicker than to . . . well, whatever these things are. And I'm not the only one - the comments following the Guardian's story are hilarious:
"Ikea toilet brushes."
"They look like what I imagine humans will look like in 10 years, once Apple buys the species and merges it with the iPod to make the iHuman."
"Because nothing says 'Britain' like a creepy bipedal showerhead/p---- thing with lobster claws."