Newspaper campaigns to elevate Vancouver Olympic character from sidekick status

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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The only real animal out of the bunch, Mukmuk, shouldn't be stuck with second billing among 2010 Winter Olympic mascots, says the Vancouver Sun newspaper.

Mukmuk was introduced on November 27, 2007, along with Miga, Quatchi, and Sumi, the Olympic and Paralympic mascots. However, he only appeared in the introductory video and on the website, while the three others appear in costumed character form around the country, and as merchandise "created in effigy by the thousands".

Only 205 Vancouver Island marmots are known to exist, due to predators (mostly wolves and eagles), and loggers.

Writer Jeff Lee is asking readers to join their "campaign to make him a real, live mascot instead of a virtual sidekick". He's asking for public opinion to send to The Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (or simply, "Vanoc") on why Mukmuk would make a good mascot, or even why he wouldn't.

Lee will be regularly writing articles for the paper, as well as blogging, publishing reader thoughts, drawings, and ideas of "who Mukmuk really is"; all the other characters have detailed back stories.

According to press materials, "Mukmuk is a small and friendly Vancouver Island marmot who always supports and cheers loudly for his friends during games and races. When he is not hibernating or sunbathing on rocks and logs, he enjoys getting out to meet other types of marmots and animals. In fact, this is how he became friends with the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic mascots."

The Vancouver Sun first received reader feedback sympathetic to Mukmuk, as a Nanaimo resident wrote in, noting their paper was the only one to even picture the character. The other three appeared on newspaper covers through BC and nationwide, once launched.

An online petition launched at an unknown date before December 4 has only gathered 18 signatures.