The Olympic mascot is always just a little bit off -- look no further than the recently introduced ambassadors for the upcoming 2012 Games in London. (At the :15 second mark, they do the Usain Bolt. I thought the day would never come when I thought that would be uncool. And yet, here it is.)
Even though we don't see the mascot of the Olympics after the first day of competition, the Olympics insist on having one. The Olympics following London, the Sochi Winter Games of 2014, will be the next to identify the monstrous character that will represent their games.
Russia has recently launched a web site that will accept public designs and mascot ideas. According to an article translated by Russian Machine Never Breaks, Alex Ovechkin was brought in to endorse the site and provide some ideas of his own.
“The mascot should be funny, ” Ovechkin said. “I suggest a sheep (Ovechkin’s last name means sheep) either with a hockey stick or on top of a snowboard.”
Of all the words in the English language, Sheep would have joined sponge, flower, pillow and Snuggie in the bottom five words I thought would translate to Ovechkin. That was a surprise.
But more to the point: while it's nice that Ovechkin is getting involved with his Country's duties, a sheep would never make it as a mascot for the Olympics. It's too specific. Something that actually resembles something that exists, could be offensive to somebody, some way. The Olympics has to be as vanilla as possible.
The reality is, if nobody can identify the mascot, nobody can get mad about what it is or isn't. That's how you end up with stuff like this.
"Thanks for the suggestion Alex, but I think we'll go with the same slight deviation of an amorphous, vaguely human amoeba person we do every year. Good hustle though."