During our bid to host the Games, London promised to connect young people with the power of the Games and in doing so inspire them to choose sport. Wenlock Olympic Mascot and Paralympic Mascot Mandeville, have proved to be one of the most powerful ways for us to deliver this vision.
How were the mascots chosen?
In October 2008 we advertised the opportunity to design the mascots on CompeteFor , the London 2012 procurement website. After more than 100 designers, artists and agencies applied, we spent the next few months selecting the best ideas and developing them based on this feedback.
When the final three ideas were tested with people all round the UK, we learnt that the British public didn't just want a character, they also want a story. We also tested the ideas with toy industry experts who agreed that Wenlock and Mandeville were the best choices.
Based on all the feedback we received, we selected Wenlock as the official Olympic mascot and Mandeville as the official Paralympic mascot for London 2012 in December 2009. The mascots were designed by London creative agency Iris.
The name Mandeville is inspired by Stoke Mandeville, the Buckinghamshire town where the Paralympic Movement was founded.
Sir Ludwig Guttmann, a neurosurgeon, began work at Stoke Mandeville Hospital’s Spinal Injuries Unit in 1944. He used organised sport to help motivate his patients to exercise, develop their physical strength and rediscover their self-confidence.
On the same day as the Opening Ceremony of the London 1948 Olympic Games, Guttmann organised an archery competition for 16 of his patients.
In 1960, the ninth Stoke Mandeville Games took place in Rome, considered to be the first Paralympic Games.
The name Wenlock is inspired by Much Wenlock, a small town in Shropshire.
In 1890, Baron Pierre de Coubertin was invited to visit Much Wenlock by Dr William Penny Brookes, an advocate of physical education in schools.
De Coubertin watched Dr Brookes' ‘Much Wenlock Games’, comprising athletics and traditional country sports with a procession of flag bearers, competitors and officials.
In 1894, de Coubertin’s proposal to establish the Olympic Games in a modern form was approved and the very first modern Olympic Games were held in Athens two years later.
The mascots in action
Before and during the Games Wenlock and Mandeville have a significant presence online, with their own mascot website as well as individual Twitter and Facebook sites.
They are also a key part of London 2012’s ‘Get Set’ education programme, with pupils able to follow the mascots’ progress as they learn about the Olympic and Paralympic Values.
The mascots have starred in four CGI animated films, designed to encourage young people to take up sport and to inspire the next generation of storytellers.