Hello friends! We’re thrilled to have you back for another stirring edition of American Gladiators DigestIn this week’s AGD: Pyro gives tips on how to plan for a romantic weekend getaway in Manhattan Beach, Zap offers up an empowering column on which powerballs we need to slam dunk into the cylinders of life and Mike Adamle provides another one of his saucy editorial cartoons.

Next week, the curtain will fall on yet another Bridgestone IBM Budweiser NHL Season-n-Playoff Funtacular. (Or kinda just morph into unsatisfying draft and free agency talk.) It’s been quite the ride, eh? The ups, the downs, the whatever the hell Eric Fehr provides. Thank you very much for powerhanging with me during the 2012-2013 season and reading this word barf. It was time you could have put towards reading a novel, training an ocelot or serving time in prison.

Not That Important Game 2 Commentary: Did you catch that bit where Dave Bolland tried (unsuccessfully) to make Brad Marchand flinch? I’m not entirely sure why that’s the go-to “tough guy” move. It’s probably because it works on wussnados like me. I think you should be allowed to flinch. It’s your way of letting the world know that  you don’t want Dave Bolland mitts on you. Why should Brad Marchand act like getting smacked in the gob wouldn’t be inconvenient. He should have just twirled away. That’s where the real power is.

Not That Important Game 4 Commentary: Hahahahahahahahahafuckyougoalieshahahahahahahahaha.

It was weird seeing Chara on the ice for five Blackhawks goals. He finished the night with a -3 and probably a Zucker-Abrahams-Zucker style novelty juicebox. THIS IS NOT A THING THAT NORMALLY HAPPENS.

A Look At Olympic Mascots Through The Years: Hold on to your oversized furry animal head, here comes some Olympic mascot talk.

Mascots are terrific aren’t they? The way they gesture and point and are constantly amazed by what’s going on. Also, when they get hurt it’s perversely hilarious because you see a furry moose in a uniform gesturing wildly to their broken leg. Don’t break kayfabe, moose!) You have to keep up the code of the mascot while you feel part of your shin sticking through your human flesh and poking your mascot fur. What I’m getting at here, is that I love mascots. They are ridiculous and wonderful and they’ve taught furries how to love. What’s not to like?

I’m also a fan of the Olympics. In my heart I know that the Olympics are an advertising bonanza disguised as a sporting event that completely sells out every noble aspect it claims to embody, but my love of the spectacle overwhelms me. Countries v. Countries in sports I never watch? Sign me up! Plus there’s melodrama, hyperbole and weird uniforms. I can’t pass on that. It’s the sort of thing I book time off work for. Y’know, the whimsy that is watching strangers equestrian/pole vault/judo the shit out of a summer’s day.

With Sochi 2014 coming soon Soon SOON, I thought it might be fun to look at mascots of Olympics past.

Introductory Note: This post will likely go better than my Goodwill Games mascot post.

London 2012 – Wenlock & Mandeville

My goodness these mascots are terrifying. They look like a repressed memory mixed with a British children’s TV series I just made up called Oi! Blub Blub Blubshire! I understand from a conceptual standpoint why you would think metal drops with cameras for eyes would be a good idea…wait I’m lying on that. I have no idea how this passed through multiple stages. METAL CREATURES IN CREAMSICLE COLOURS ARE GONNA LET YOU KNOW THAT ENGLAND IS BACK! Are they going with a “oh boy, Shaun Ryder is mumbling to himself in the methadone clinic again” motif? You have a Queen. Just make her the mascot. She could have handed out Powerade and put her hands over top of her face to express disappointment. Just like she did when Diana passed.

Vancouver 2010 – Quatchi, Miga, Sumi (& sometimes Mukmuk)

I’d watch a sitcom featuring these three guys. Although they do look like refugees from a window painting advertising a cafe’s new commitment to “fusion revival wraps.” It’s the sort of cafe that has cute elements to it but you kind of resent the people inside because they’re young and happy. “Grrr, you can’t all dress like you’re on Blossom,” I’d say! I’ll learn later in life that I was wrong for being so judgmental about that cafe (“I guess this means it was me all along that was the snob. I’m sorry, The Foodchipper.”), but I’ll have Stage 6 Space Pox so it’ll be too late for me to be super upset about it.

Beijing 2008 – Fuwa

China (that place that people who wear suspenders and hang out all day in the mall are always angry about) gave us not one, not two, not three, not four, but five (5!) mascots to guide us through our Olympic journey. One for each continent! Each mascot represented a continent (or two, North & South America got merged into one mascot) and they all had their own unique specialties, personality traits and commemorative cup at McDonalds. Africa’s mascot (a giant panda named Jingjing) is easily the best, although the mascot comes across as vaguely racist in a way that I’m quite not sure how to unpack. Still, the mascots seem neato.

Torino 2006 – Neve & Gliz

Fun Fact: Neve & Gliz were Italy’s second choice for a mascot after a genetically modified Roberto Benigni broke out of the Italian Olympic Headquarters and terrorized the country in the early 00s. Neve & Gliz are a snowball and a ice cube with human-like properties. As you can see in this picture, Neve & Gliz were famous for roughhousing tourists and occasionally making unwanted sexual advances from behind. (F’real Nev & Gilz, that’s not cool.)

Athens 2004 – Athena & Phevos

Fun Fact: Athena & Phevos were Greece’s second choice for a mascot after a genetically modified Nia Vardalos broke out of the Greek Olympic Headquarters and terrorized the country in the early 00s.HAHAHAHATHEYLOOKLIKEDONGSHAHAHAHAHA!!!

Salt Lake City 2002 – Powder, Copper & Coal

Remember when your mom would by you a generic brand of fruit snacks? You’d find characters that look like this on the label. Also, why does that bear have Hellboy hands?

Sydney 2000 – Olly, Syd & Millie

The guy that created Sydney’s mascots clearly wanted to fuck these animals. The way Millie’s drawn makes me incredibly uncomfortable. You can imagine the designer muttering disgusting things to himself while drawing her. “Yeah, let me run my fingers through your spikes. Lemme suck on that snout. TELL ME I’M A GOOD MARSUPISON!!!” Gross, mascot designer, gross.

Nagano 1998 – The Snowlets

This is what the momscot that gave birth to the PBS P-Pals would give birth to if she were abusing PCP during all three trimesters.

Atlanta 1996 – Izzy

Poor Izzy. Even though society accepts the existence of Bruce Jenner, the world doesn’t have room in its heart for two weirdly unnatural American Olympic mascots. Izzy’s design is frighteningly Poochie-esque. He’s something that was clearly created with a “kids are going think this is so cool” arrogance, with no one really stopping to point out that writing “WOO WOO HERE COMES THE MONEY TRAIN NO NOT THE SNIPES/HARRELSON MOVIE I MEAN A CHOO CHOO MADE O’ CASH” isn’t the only step you need when barfing out a spokescreature.

Oh well, at least Izzy got a crappy video game out of the deal. Go Izzy Go! Get that torch and time permitting stop my grandma from saying something super racist during the Men’s 100M Final! (The torch didn’t make it in time.)

Lillehammer 1994 – Kristin & Hakon

Oh no! Vikings! The international symbol of raping, pillaging and setting shit on fire! Look, I’ll give you all my Olympic commemorative pins if you don’t give me any trouble, okay? You can probably buy all kinds of a-ha albums with what these pins are worth. Just please don’t give me any trouble. (/slowly backs away)

Barcelona 1992 -Cobi

A flesh coloured nude cubist dog? You’re speaking my language, Spain! Cobi is hands down my favourite of all the Olympic mascots. He’s unique, charming and he either has a New Wave haircut or he’s handling taking several axe strikes to his head with aplomb.

Albertville 1992 – Magique

Ick. Magique looks like someone crossbred the Travelocity gnome with a super penisy looking starfish. This man-star/snow-imp probably saved us from a ghost clown with a light bulb in its mouth, so maybe I shouldn’t be too hard on Magique. Still, they probably should have went with Gerard Depardieu’s nose as the mascot.

Seoul 1998 – Hodori (Plus Occasionally Hosuni)

These two are a delight. For some reason, most of the pictures I came across featured Hodori placing his right paw in the air. Is it a secret code to the North Koreans? Is he throwing up an adorable gang sign? Did he fuck the Big Boy mascot’s wife and was taunting him mercilessly through the 80s? Tell me your secrets, Hodori. Also, full points to Hodori and Hosuni for wearing super medals around their necks. They’re probably just participation medals (“Good effort! Enjoy some picked over Tiger Pizza.”), but maybe they’re some sort of elite medal thing we don’t know about. Dammit! Now I’m trapped in Hodori’s world of secrets again.

Calgary 1988 – Hidy & Howdy

This is the best that Canada could come up with in 1988: Nightmare Cowboy Bears. Why would they ever trust us with the Olympics again? The costumes are either spectacularly half-assed or part of some weird fetish playset. What sorcery could draw such dead eyes and all consuming soul eating mouths? Howdy & Hidy can no longer be seen on Calgary signs, but I’m reasonably sure they live on uncomfortably in the nightmares of everyone they encounter.

Los Angeles 1984 – Sam

When you hire a guy from the Walt Disney Company to design a logo, you would imagine he’d come back with something better than Sam. Sam’s the sort of mascot you’d see at a weird American gas station where all they sell is Coors, Combos and NASCAR jackets featuring Calvin peeing on Jeff Gordon. A frightening amount of Sam merchandise makes this bowtied patriot look like a weird old-timey factory owner. I suppose that’s what happens when you live in an era where Reagan was super popular.

Sarajevo 1984 – Vucko

Hooray for Vucko! I might actually like him better than Cobi. According to Wikipedia, Vucko symbolizes the desire of humans to befriend animals. I’d be a bit wary of befriending Vucko though. He looks like the kind of wolf that would ditch you partway through a Ketamines concert to do coke with his wolf pals from high school. Here’s another picture of Vucko that I believe might back up my theory.

Maybe he’ll turn it around by the time football season starts. We’re sharing season tickets!


Moscow 1980 – Misha

Misha was sort of a mascot slam dunk. Soviet Union + Bear Cub = Mascot Excellence. It’s as simple as that. I bet when all the Western Olympic teams were told they’d be boycotting Moscow, they were like wicked sad, but then they saw the mascot and it crushed their spirit. “We could have gotten a picture taken with that bear? Damn you cold war!” they’d say before going back to their day job at the Sears warehouse. Sigh. What could have been.

Fun(ish) Fact: Russia’s national team uses Cheburashka as their mascot. I’m more of a Gena fan, myself.

Lake Placid 1980 – Roni

I put the breaks on a horrible “Rocky Raccoon” parody just now. Apologies for even letting the idea of such a thing get out into the universe. Roni’s a neat mascot because he’s just a raccoon that’s a winter sport enthusiast. He probably had all sorts of important things to say about Iran hostage crisis, though. As all snowsuited raccoons did at that time. (Aside from Bert Raccoon of course, who made some very controversial statements about the issue that led to him being stripped of his Order of Canada.)

Innsbruck 1976 – Schneemann

According to Wikipedia, Innsbruck’s snowman mascot represents “the games of simplicity”. In other words, it represents “fuck it, I hear Montreal’s is shittier, let’s just knock out a snowman in a hat and call it a day.”

Montreal 1976 – Amik

Montreal Olympics Chair 1: “Sacre bleu! The Olympics are two weeks away and we don’t have a mascot!”

Montreal Olympics Chair 2: “We have this beaver Jell-o mold.”

Montreal Olympics Chair 1: “Brilliant!” (/throws out sketch of a fleur de lis wearing an FLQ windbreaker)

Munich 1972 – Waldi

Good ol’ Waldi. He holds the distinction of being the first official Olympic mascot. What better place to start the tradition than with a snooty rainbowish dog that looks like he was peeled off the wall of an Elementary school gymnasium? I’m pretty sure I saw this dog sipping Merlot on a patio near Pier One and mocking all the purchases made by the people walking out.

So ends the “He-yuck! Look at them crazy foreign sports critters” journey. Have a good hockel this week!

Hang out with Dan on Twitter or in the comments. He’s feeling glad.