Olympics mascot contest in full swing

More than 4,000 sketches have already been submitted to Russia’s online contest to pick the mascot for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. So the jury will face a tough task.

Sochi’s youth are especially excited, as they are picking the best mascot for their city’s biggest sporting event. Olga Kyrganskaya says it should be two doves supporting each other, representing the Olympic and Paralympics games. Why doves? Because they “can be found everywhere in Russia and abroad. Everyone knows this symbol because it’s so sincere and pure.”

Anya Bobina has another vision. A simple – but meaningful – handshake will be the perfect mascot.

The handshake symbolizes that we’ll invite foreigners, and we’ll have to be friendly with them, the sea and the palm trees are here because we’re in Sochi,” she said.

All these entries are part of an online contest held by the Olympics’ organizing committee.

Anyone from professional designers to amateur artists is invited to take part in an online contest held by the Olympics’ organizing committee, and may upload their work and have it rated by online users. And even though the majority of contestants are from Russia’s capital, Sochi is hoping to catch up.

The website gallery now features all kinds of ideas. From bears to squirrels – to squirrels riding bears. From simple Sochik the Hedgehog to complicated “tiny nanowhales in a fishtank.” From a mysterious Olympic unicorn to Yeti the Snowmountain. The contest got everyone so excited that even Mayor Anatoly Pakhomov decided to share his own ideas.

“I think it could be either a dolphin on skis, or a bear, because the bear is the symbol of the Russian people,” he said.

With all the zoological and botanical diversity, it will be hard to pick one single mascot for the Sochi Olympics. The deadline is set for February 7, when a televised voting ceremony will determine the winner.