La mascotte (The Mascot) is an opéra comique by Edmond Audran. The french libretto was written by Alfred Duru and Henri Charles Chivot. The story concerns a farm girl who is believed to bring good luck to whoever possesses her, so long as she remains a virgin. The title as translated into english initiated the use of the word mascot in the english language to mean an animal, human, or thing which brings good luck.

Opéra comique called "La Mascotte" from 1880

Criterias to become an official mascot

Since the appearance of the first mascots at the Olympic Games the IOC always name "Waldi" as the first official mascot from Munich 1972. They decided to declare "Shuss" four years before, from Grenoble 1968 as an unofficial mascot". I do not agree with this decision for the following reason. To become an "official Olympic mascot" the following criterias must be fullfield:

  1. Is the Organising Committee (OC) the initiator of the idea to invent, design a masot for the Games?
  2. Have the OC decided to use the mascot on official publications to promote their Games?
  3. Have the OC signed contract to suppliers to produce diverse merchandising products?
  4. Have the OC earned money of the mascot sales from different products?
  5. Do spectators relate the Games with a speciffic mascot(s)?
  6. Has the mascot been used in combination with the official emblem?

Los Angeles 1932 – First appearance of an Olympic mascot

The first appearance of an mascot during the Olympic Games was "Smoky" In Los Angeles 1932. Born in the Olympic Village just before the games, Smoky was success because he was real, and most importantly, adorable. Smoky was a little black dog wearing a dogcoat with the Olympic rings on it and written the word "mascot".

Grenoble 1968 – First official mascot "Shuss"

The first Olympic mascot that fulfills all criterias mentioned above is Shuss in Grenoble 1968. A little man on skis, half-way between an object and a person, it was the first manifestation of a long line of mascots which would not stop. Since then, mascots have become the most popular and memorable ambassadors of the Olympic Games. An original image, the mascot has the job of giving concrete form to the Olympic spirit, spreading the values highlighted at each edition of the Games; promoting the history and culture of the host city; and giving the event a festive atmosphere. The Games mascots over the years have all been examples of ingenuity, imagination and artistic creativity.


Mexico 1968 – First mascot with a cultural background

Munich 1972 – First colour changeable mascot