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The three official Vancouver winter Olympic mascots are called Quactchi, Miga and Sumi. In some places in Europe, there’s a fourth. His name is Pedobear..

[Lead photo: Damien D] Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few days, you’re probably aware that this is the opening weekend of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. We’ll be taking an in-depth look at the design of the official games logo with our next post, but I thought we should get this out of the way first. Makes for a good read on a Saturday afternoon.

Olympic mascots are big business.

Most Olympic games end up developing a mascot, or as in this case, a series of mascots. Meet Quatchi the Sasquatch (yeah, that’s right. one of the Canadian Olympic mascots is a Sasquatch), Miga the Sea Bear, and Sumi the Thunderbirdvancouver-olympic-mascots-real Don’t think that these Olympic mascots are developed for fun and frolic or to entertain the kiddies. This is serious business. Sales of licensed plush toys (made in China, a sort of contention with local Vancouver manufacturers) and other trinkets will certainly run into the millions. Anyway, the mascots were developed back in 2007 by Vancouver graphic designers Vicki Wong and Michael Murphy from Meomi Design. Initial reaction was mixed, with some comparing the designs to characters from Star Wars, Pokemon and Hello Kitty. Among the critics was Vancouver-based artist Michael Barrick. Which brings us to our next item.

Olympic mascots? Meet Pedobear

Barrick didn’t like the mascots at all. He thought that the brightly colored characters were “embarrassing” and that the Canadian Olympic mascots “looked like Pedobear.” Who’s Pedobear, you ask? Sigh. I knew you would. Pedobear is an internet character used to mock pedophiles on Intenet forums.

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To illustrate his point, Barrick created a “visual critique” by Photoshopping Pedobear into an image of actual mascots and publishing it on his blog. That was last July. Fast forward to a few weeks ago, after Google image Search had picked up the picture and was serving it up on page one when people used the keywords “Vancouver 2010 Mascots“. Which is how the image found its way onto the front page of Gazeta Olsztynska, a Polish newspaper, which mistakingly identifies Pedobear as one of the official mascots.newspaper-pedo-bear-vancouver-mascots

And the internet went wild.