Every big sports event has a mascot. Many sports teams have one too. Most mascot continue their lives as stuffed toys. We searched for some of the popular mascot stuffed animals that have gathered attention thoughout the years.
Popular mascot stuffed animals in football World Cups
Their history dates back to 1966. The lion Willie was actually the first mascot for a football World Cup. It brought the English team luck as it helped them secure their first world title. It has been on of the popular mascot stuffed animals ever since.
Another famous mascot is the dog Striker. The dog was chosen as the animal for the mascot as it is a popular pet in the USA. Thus Striker has fans to this day.
The next popular mascot is Footix. He was part of the World Cup in France in 1998. The rooster is France’s national symbol and Footix was loved all over the country. He had a great World Cup when he saw his team go to the final and winning it.
The lion returns again as a mascot exactly 50 years after Willie. During the World Cup in Germany in 2006 the lion Goleo VI was gracing the stadions. He had a sidekick – a talking football named Pille.
Four years later in South Africa the mascot is called Zakumi. He is a leopard commonly found in the country’s wild life. The name derives from ZA for South Africa and KUMI which means “ten” so – South Africa 2010.
And in the last World Cup so far, in 2014 in Brazil, the armadillo Fuleco was the mascot. Given the huge popularity of football in the country and the vast interest to the tournament Fuleco has quickly risen to fame and has become one of the most popular mascot stuffed animals in gift shops.
Mascot stuffed animals with Olympic fame
The first mascot used in Olympic Games is Schuss in 1968 in Grenoble. The stylized skier actually is an unofficial mascot.
One of the first very popular Olympic mascots actually comes along in the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow. The bear Misha, styled after Russia’s national symbol (the bear) is remembered even today. He was a hot topic after he seemed to respawn in a slightly altered version in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
The mascot for the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles is Sam. He is a bald eagle, the symbol of the USA, but a little bit more on the cartoon side than on the actual animal. Still, Sam is one of the most popular mascot stuffed animals.
After that it seemed like there was a sort of a “pause” in popular mascots. Possibly the two tiger cubs Hodori and Hosuni for the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul had a bit of a following but they were not that popular as Sam or Misha.
Things changed in 2012 for the London Summer Olympics. The organizers tried to put an extra focus on Wenlock and Mandeville which were futuristic looking creatures.
So far the last Olympic mascots were Bely Mishka, Snow Leopard and Zaika from the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. They also had special focus on them with extra cartoons telling stories about them. This prooved a wise move and all three characters turned out as a popular mascot stuffed animals for souvernirs.
Mascots for sports teams
Almost all of the popular (and not so popular) football, basketball, volleyball, hockey and other types of sports teams have mascots. And almost all of them are represented as stuffed toys.
There are so many that it would be difficult to cover them all. They are most popular in the UK. The Premier League teams count on their mascots which are all kinds – lions, elephants, birds, even a dinosaur.
Tell us which are your favorite mascot stuffed animals in our forum or in the comments below.