It was all about the children this week when Olympic organizers finally unveiled three mascots for the 2010 Winter Games.
And if the Whistler kids are anything to go by the mascots, Miga, Quatchi, and Sumi, will make cash registers ring for Olympic organizers.
“Miga is really cool, and I like them a lot,” said Hunter Prall, a student at Spring Creek Elementary School.
“I am very excited for the Olympics, I can’t wait.”
Prall, along with other Whistler students in Grade 5 and 6, were bussed down to the mascot unveiling event in Surrey on Tuesday. In all about 800 kids watched and cheered as VANOC showed off the latest faces of the Games in a 35-minute high tech stage show with dance, song, and special effects.
“I really liked the show,” said Lauren Doak. “I like Sumi the best.”
Said Max Peiffer, “I thought it was cool how the mascot from Whistler flew across the stage. I think it is really good that the Olympics are coming to Whistler and I want to go to tons of events.”
Whistler parent Sarah Sladen was also impressed.
“I thought the show was great, very uplifting and exciting,” she said.
“The three different mascots are great and they each have different personalities.”
The mascots, designed by Vancouver-based Meomi Design, draw on aboriginal folklore and B.C. folklore.
Miga is a sea bear, a creature drawn from First Nation legend. It is part orca and part bear, in this case a spirit bear.
Quatchi is a sasquatch who loves hockey, and Sumi is another animal spirit, part Thunderbird, part black bear. He also wears the hat of an orca whale, and is the guardian spirit.
And for the first time in Olympic history the mascots will have a sidekick, Mukmuk, a Vancouver Island marmot.
“The designer, I think, did a remarkable job of looking at the Olympic Games, looking at the region, at the country, at us, looking at past Olympic history and recognizing one clear thing; this has got to be a marvel for children,” said Vancouver Organizing Committee CEO John Furlong.
“They have to feel like they can connect to the characters.
“We really wanted to make sure that there would be no child anywhere who would look at the program and think there is no one there they could relate to...”
Furlong hasn’t got a favourite so far, though he admitted to being partial to Mukmuk.