The mystery of the missing mascot

More dispatches from the Olympic Park will follow later but one question simply cannot wait: Where’s Wenlock?
Wenlock, for the uninitiated, is the official London 2012 Olympic mascot and this blog was under strict instructions to secure photographs of him in his natural habitat for some of its younger followers. I took those instructions very seriously. The motto of these Games is Inspire A Generation, and what could be more inspiring than pictures of a grown man or woman dressed up as a weird one-eyed being with a taxi light on its head?
The Olympic Park is spread over 2.5 square kilometres, the equivalent of 257 football pitches. I trekked all over this unforgiving terrain for hours but I could see no sign of a “live” mascot. In the end, I had to settle for a statue of the elusive creature, guarded by London 2012 volunteers who made sure no one hogged too much time with him.
Frankly, I expected to be besieged by a welter of Wenlocks (maybe with Mandeville, the Paralympic mascot), posing for pictures with children and making fools of adults in the way that only men in ridiculous costumes can. But Wenlock has clearly gone AWOL or MIA.
I have conducted extensive investigative work to confirm my thesis. There can be no doubt. Searches of both Google and Flickr show no recent images of the real Wenlock, despite many thousands of people having visited the Olympic Park in the past few days. Even his Twitter feed has gone ominously quiet.
This begs some obvious questions:
Is this another contract security company G4S has failed to fulfil? Had they promised to supply 500 Wenlocks only to confess at the last minute that they had failed to find a single suitable person with a three-pointed head?
Does this mean our troops will again have to step into the breach? Are soldiers fresh from the front line in Helmand  about to discover their next assignment requires a rather different uniform? And will they get a shoulder patch or medal adorned with Wenlock as recognition for saving the nation’s blushes once more?
Will Mitt Romney declare the mascot mess-up “disconcerting” and find himself again assailed by every British politician and journalist as if he had suggested that we have outsourced the running of the Olympics to Syria’s Assad regime? (Romney must have been glad to move onto the safer ground of Middle East politics the other day after discovering just how dangerous it was to respond to the question “Is Britain ready for the Olympics?” with the answer “I don’t really know”.)
Has Wenlock been kidnapped by terrorists or organised criminals? Has a news blackout been imposed? Is this why the major media outlets have not reported on the biggest story of the Games so far?
There is a slightly serious point to all of this. The organisers have already deprived most visitors to the Olympic Park of one obvious photo opportunity by keeping the Olympic flame inside the stadium. They could at least get a few volunteers into Wenlock costumes so kids can get their picture taken with him.

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6 thoughts on “The mystery of the missing mascot

  1. Pingback: Wenlock Watch: breaking news! | Dispatches from 2012

  2. Pingback: Wenlock watch update: Shameless showboating | Dispatches from 2012

  3. Pingback: Wenlock watch: the final chapter | Dispatches from 2012

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