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Izzy (Mascot): Wikis

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Izzy was the official mascot of the Atlanta 1996 Summer Olympics. Named Whatizit (What is it?) at its first introduction at the close of the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, the computer animated character with the ability to morph into different forms was a departure from the Olympic tradition in that it didn't represent a nationally-significant animal or human figure.

Contents

History

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Conception and introduction at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics

In 1991, the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games (ACOG) began a search for a mascot with a competition of twenty design firms as well as suggestions from the general public.[1] The selection, Whatizit, was designed by John Ryan, senior animation director of Atlanta-based design firm DESIGNefx.[2] Whatizit originally appeared as a blue, tear-shaped "blob" with rings around his eyes and tail. He wore high-top sneakers and had star-shaped pupils. His arms and legs were also short with a toothy grin showing both rows of teeth. He was later modified to have longer limbs to give a more athletic look.

After a very critical reception to Whatizit's introduction during the closing ceremonies of the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, ACOG began work to reshape the character specifically focusing on children, who were far more attracted to the character than adults.

His greatest change came about after he lost the bottom row of teeth and gained a nose. He was then referred to as Izzy. Also, his tongue became visible, and his limbs became longer, skinnier, and more athletic in appearance.[citation needed]

Izzy's Quest for Olympic Gold

ACOG commissioned an animated television special entitled "Izzy's Quest For Olympic Gold" to promote Izzy and expand his backstory. Produced by Film Roman, the special aired on TNT on August 12, 1995.[3]

Media ridicule

Despite continued efforts to evolve his look, Izzy proved very unpopular; a range of nicknames appeared in media outlets, such as "The Sperm in Sneakers."[4] Busch Gardens Europe, a theme park in Williamsburg, Virginia, named a new Wild Mouse roller coaster after the mascot, but the name has since been changed and now currently resides in Busch Gardens Africa.

Video game

He was also the star of his very own video game called Izzy's Quest for the Olympic Rings[5]. It was released for the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis systems.[6]

References

External links

  • [1] photograph of Izzy, on a mascot manufacturer website.
  • izzypins a website devoted to Izzy the Whatizit.

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