Olympic mascots unveiled
London 2012 reveal characters for Games
Last Updated: 20/05/10 8:58am
2012 mascots: Wenlock (left) and Mandeville
Two alien-like creatures called Mandeville and Wenlock have been unveiled as mascots for the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Going all-out for child appeal, London 2012 organisers created a cartoon and signed up best-selling children's writer Michael Morpurgo to build a background story for the abstract characters.
The duo, created for the digital age, are seen as a key money-spinner for London 2012 which must raise £2billion from the private sector to stage the Games.
London 2012 said it cost "a few thousand pounds" to create the designs but would not release a figure.
Wenlock and Mandeville will appear on everything from toys to mugs when the mascots go on sale from this year's two-year countdown to the start of the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics.
London 2012 chair Paul Deighton said: "For our merchandising programme we anticipate royalties of between £70-80 million.
"Of course the amount the mascot contributes is a function of how many are created and how much people are interested in them. I would not be surprised if we get between 10-20%."
According to the story - called Out of the Rainbow - Wenlock and Mandeville were crafted by a character called Grandpa George from the last drops of steel used to build the Olympic Stadium.
The cartoon shows Wenlock and Mandeville striking poses like sprinter Usain Bolt's bow and arrow, copying diver Tom Daley and trying a split-jump like world champion gymnast Beth Tweddle.
Organisers will also be hoping the mascots avoids the controversy sparked by London 2012's £400,000 logo - which was widely panned when it was launched.
Deighton said: "We went to a wider pool than the logo. We tried to stick to what we believe we promised to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in Singapore (when London was awarded the 2012 Games).
"We wanted something which would engage with young people. We spoke with a lot of kids."
The mascots' names hark back to Britain's Olympic and Paralympic history.
Wenlock is named after the Shropshire village of Much Wenlock. It is where the Wenlock Games was one of the inspirations for Baron Pierre de Coubertin, founder of the modern Olympic movement, to create the Olympics.
Mandeville's name is inspired by Stoke Mandeville in Buckinghamshire.
International Paralympic Committee president Sir Philip Craven described the Mandeville as "marvellous" and "unique".
He said: "During its journey in the upcoming two years, Mandeville will report about the Paralympic Movement and inspire people to learn about the Paralympic values and achievements of Paralympic athletes. I am sure that it will be loved by children all over the world."
London Mayor Boris Johnson described the pairing as "a solid coalition", adding: "It's hard to imagine a mascot more in tune with the times."
Sports Minister Hugh Robertson said: "The launch of the mascots is an exciting milestone in the build-up to London 2012 and will help to bring the personality of the Games to life particularly for young people."