07/26/2012 11:38 EDT

Olympic Mascots Through The Ages (PHOTOS)


When it comes to the Olympics, there are a few things patrons of the Games can always count on: sports, athletes, and the odd mascot to put a (not-so-human) face on the world's foremost sporting event. Since 1968, mascots and the Olympics have been synonymous as medals and athletes.

The first mascot debuted during the Winter Olympic Games when France played host to the Winter Games and featured Schuss, a stylized skier. However, it wasn't until 1972 when the International Olympic Committee officially began using mascots. Since then, 21 different mascots have been selected, each tasked with representing the cultural heritage of the host city.

This year's Summer Olympics' mascot is Wenlock who at first glance, resembles a giant d... drop of steel with cameras for eyes. Yes, that's the rationale behind the mascot's design which has drawn comparisons to a "giant, one-eyed monster". However, the fella pretty much epitomizes the Olympics. His friendship bands are the five Olympic rings, his giant eye is a camera designed to capture everything as it happens, and its face is based off the design of London's Olympic stadium roof.

But not all Olympic mascots have been as abstract. In fact, they are often animals native to the host country or city. For a list of all of the official Olympic mascots, click on the gallery below.

Photo gallery Olympic Mascots Through The Years See Gallery

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