Sochi mascots are ready for action. Polar Bear, Leopard and Hare have earned their spot to represent the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia. The trio of animals will be following in the footsteps of other team mascots by welcoming guests and keeping spirits alive. The Olympics have had a designated mascot since the winter games of 1968. The cartoon character on skis, Schuss, made his debut in Grenoble, France, starting the tradition.
Polar Bear, Leopard and Hare are their names. They have no other given name. Each animal is unique in its virtues and qualities and was elected by the entire nation. After over 24,000 submitted entries of various ideas for mascots, the votes from over a million finally opted for the three furry creatures. They are ready for action as they will roam the grounds, have a multitude of photo ops, participate in ceremonies and festivities and sell merchandise.
Despite seven years to prepare and get things in order for the huge event, Sochi is still putting on finishing touches and fine tuning details. A budget of $51 billion has gone to the construction of hotels, restaurants, transportation and safety precautions. Six domes and stadiums have been built, and five outdoor structures have been maintained and created for various Olympic events. What should have been complete months or at least weeks ago, seems to be dragging on to the last minute. It will be done correct or maybe not at all, they say. If one wonders about anything, the reply, “It’s Russia”, may have to suffice.
The mascots will serve as ambassadors, drawing in the interest of children and animal lovers. They will become well known fixtures of the Sochi Winter Olympics. Gifts shops are ready to go with hats, mugs, T-shirts, plush animals and other merchandise featuring Polar Bear, Leopard and Hare. Aside from steep ticket prices to individual events, trinkets and souvenirs will bring in a hefty sum. Chosen for their traits, the mascots are ready to impress and awe the crowd.
Getting children on board has been a creative effort involving stories for each mascot. Polar Bear is a symbol of strength, purity, rejuvenating spirit and perseverance. The resourceful creature represents wisdom, confidence and fearlessness. As told in his story, Polar Bear lives in a ice house with an ice bed and computer. He loves skiing, speed skating, curling and especially the bobsled.
Leopard is suave and mysterious. The personal choice of Prime Minister Putin, Leopard is billed as being an expert snowboarder. The charming cat is beautiful, fierce and energetic, esteemed qualities all athletes will surely display. Hare is a female who loves music and fun. The doe keeps busy and is fast, as she is not your usual rabbit. Figure skating appears to be her forte. Fun loving and joyful, she will most likely be the favorite of little girls.
As life is unpredictable, modern concerns of security will be in place. Watching the Olympics NBC will showcase on television, may be the safest way to go. Many Americans are not traveling due to visa problems, lack of available hotel rooms and safety issues. The festivities and fun will take place with admired athletes from around the world as the Sochi mascots Polar Bear, Leopard and Hare are ready for action.
UPDATE: As the games continued with twists and turns on the slopes and ice, the athletes united in spirit of worldwide compassion. The mascots were there to guide the fans and followers through each event and be a comfort for winners and losers alike. Lifelike mascots helped to close the events with hugs, tears and the final extinguishing of the Olympic flame. Memories of sweet victories and sudden defeats will surely travel home in the form of the plush softness of Polar Bear, Leopard and Hare trinkets and momentos. The tears of joy from the experience were shown by special effects in a unified goodbye from the Sochi mascots and the hosts of the 2014 Winter Olympics.
By: Roanne FitzGibbon