Title: Symbolism and the effectiveness of Olympic mascots

Authors: Ina Freeman, Peter Knight, Norman O'Reilly

Addresses: College of Professional Studies, Mississippi Valley State University, 14000 Highway 82 West, Itta Bena, MS 38941, USA. ' Faculty of Business, University of Ontario Institute of Technology, 2000 Simcoe Street North, Oshawa, Ontario L1H 7K4, Canada. ' Faculty of Management, School of Sports Administration, Laurentian University, 935 Ramsey Lake Road, Sudbury, Ontario, P3E 2C6, Canada

Abstract: The current research examines the semiotics of Olympic Games Mascots. Indeed, it looks at these important symbols that were conceived in the 1960s and have developed into modern animated caricatures that represent both the Olympic Games and the host city. Typically, mascots are developed as regionally specific symbols of each game through the semiotic metafunctions of those symbols. In adopting this premise, this paper examines what signs and symbols are embedded in the mascots and how such are interpretive of the time and place of the particular Games they represent. In exploring the symbolic evolution of these mascots, four case studies are carried out to examine Olympic mascots.

Keywords: Olympic Games; semiotics; symbolism; mascots; sport management; sport marketing; diversity; identity; host cities.

DOI: 10.1504/IJSMM.2007.011389

International Journal of Sport Management and Marketing, 2007 Vol.2 No.1/2, pp.41 - 58

Published online: 30 Nov 2006 *

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