Mascots have been a part of Olympic Games since Munich 1972, when Waldi, a dachshund, was the symbol of the ill-fated Munich Games at which Israeli athletes and officials were killed by Palestinian extremists.
Prior to that in 1968, Paloma de la Paz, a dove with an olive branch, was the symbol of the Mexico Games. But it was just a symbol.
Since then, mascots have been an integral part of the Games. On most occasions the mascots are characters inspired by animals. Some of them have also been inspired by human figures.
The mascots of London Games are Wenlock and Mandeville. While Wenlock is a mascot of Olympics, Mandeville is mascot for Paralympics. These are two ultra-modern one-eyed creatures.
Michael Morpurgo, was commissioned to write a story about the mascots, imagining them being created from the last drops of steel left over when the final girder for the Olympic Stadium was cast.
Wenlock comes from the village of Much Wenlock in Shropshire, where a multi-sport event was one of the inspirations for the founder of the Olympic movement, Baron Pierre de Coubertin.
Mandeville's name is inspired by Stoke Mandeville, a pioneering hospital set up to help former soldiers suffering from spinal injuries. It devised a sports event for the patients which was a forerunner of the Paralympics.
While design of the mascots evoked mixed response, the organisers hoped to raise at least 15 million pounds of the 70 million pounds they need to generate from licensed merchandising.
2008: The Fuwa - Beibei, Jingjing, Huanhuan, Yingying, Nini - the Olympic mascots of Beijing
2004: Athena and Phevos, the Olympic mascots of Athens
2000: Syd, Oly, Millie, the Olympic mascots of Sydney
1996: Izzy, the Olympic mascot of Atlanta
1992: Cobi, the Olympic mascot of Barcelona
1988: Hodori, the Olympic mascot of Seoul
1984: Sam, the Olympic mascot of Los Angeles
1980: Misha, the Olympic mascot of Moscow
1976: Amik, the Olympic mascot of Montreal
1972: Waldi, the Olympic mascot of Munich