The last two weeks have been inundated with new mascots to mock. First we got a gander at the 2016 Euro and 2015 Copa America mascots, both of which looked like they might wind up in jail for murder at some point, and now we’re getting a look at the duo set to represent the 2016 Rio Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Less murder-y? Yes, thank goodness. Less weird? No, thank goodness.
Keeping with the tradition of “just make it bizarre,” the new mascot for the Olympic Games is a strange yellow cat-like figure with blue fingerless gloves and orange spats, while the Paralympic Games’ representative is a multi-colored tree-like creature with orange gauntlets and lime-green knee pads.
“The Rio 2016 mascots represent the diversity of our culture, of our people,” Rio 2016 brand director Beth Lula said in a statement. “They represent our joy, our way of being. Both of them are magical creatures with super powers and relate naturally with the young audience, who we want to engage with our event so much.”
The mascots, designed by San Paulo’s Birdo Producoes, represent Brazil’s flora and fauna, and they incorporate pop culture references, including “elements of animation and computer game characters,” the press release states. That last descriptor is what might separate these mascots from all that have come before them. Looking at the official descriptions of the characters, they both sound like they belong in a video game.
“The Olympic mascot represents all of the different animals in Brazil. He combines the agility of cats, the sway of monkeys and the grace of birds. He can stretch his arms and legs as much as he wants,” the release continues about the yellow feline-like character.
“The Paralympic mascot is a fusion of plants found in Brazilian forests. He is energized by photosynthesis and can pull any object from his head of leaves. He is always growing and overcoming obstacles,” the statement said of the tree-man.
Before these two turn into the next Mario and Luigi, however, they need names. The Rio 2016 committee wants the public’s help, so they’ve laid out three pairs of names, one for the cat and the other for the tree, respectively, and are asking people to vote online. The names are: Oba and Eba; Tiba Tuque and Esquindim; and perhaps most strangely in a normcore kind of way, Vinicius and Tom. Yep, just Tom. The electorate can vote online here. The winning names will be announced on Dec. 14.