In the spring of 2014, the Facebook page of the Winter Youth Olympic Games Lillehammer 2016 experienced a huge spike in activity, as users voted on mascot proposals as part of an international design competition. By June, three superb works of art, representing a lynx, an elk and a weasel, had made it onto the final shortlist. The lynx, drawn by 18-year-old Line Ansethmoen, who hails from Lillehammer, eventually emerged victorious from the tight contest, finishing just 30 votes ahead of the weasel.
Then there was the small matter of choosing a name for the new mascot. Over 22,000 Facebook users had their say, and in the end, “Sjogg” meaning “snow” in Lillehammer and the surrounding region, was given the nod.
Line Ansethmoen’s Sjogg is actually a mix of an imaginary creature and a lynx, an animal found mainly in the forests of Hedmark and Oppland counties, the latter of which contains the town of Lillehammer. “I think it looks really nice,” said Line after seeing the final version of the mascot.
The fun-loving Sjogg sports a blue hooded top with green bottoms, inspired by the mountains that loom over Lillehammer and symbolising the different cultures that will soon gather together in this part of Norway to share incredible experiences and make friends for life. The same colour split will be replicated in the uniforms worn by the hundreds of volunteers signed up to help out at the YOG 2016.
Surprises in store
Unlike real-life lynxes, Sjogg is particularly sociable. Full of energy and mischief, he enjoys being surrounded by friends and loves making new acquaintances more than anything. He just cannot wait for all the young athletes from all over the world to arrive in Lillehammer in February. “We’re pretty sure that Sjogg will be the one who hands out the most hugs during the Games, though we can’t guarantee that he won’t be playing pranks as well,” said Magne Vikøren, Head of Communications and Marketing for Lillehammer 2016.”
Indeed, the youthful Sjogg has much in common with the YOG competitors and their values, earning admiration while remaining modest, magnanimous and determined to do well.