The Organising Committee for the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games has launched a nationwide competition in Russia to design the mascot for the Sochi Olympic Games. The competition will run from 1 September till 5 December 2010, and participants can submit their ideas through a special web portal (in Russian only) or by mail. An expert jury, made-up of filmmakers, animators, artists, cultural workers, professional marketers and athletes, will then create a shortlist of finalists. The winning design will be decided on 7 February 2011 through a public SMS and telephone vote. The winner will receive two tickets to the Opening Ceremony of the Games.
A long history of Olympic mascots
The first official Olympic mascot - Waldi the dachshund - was launched on the occasion of the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, although an unofficial mascot called "Schuss" had appeared at the 1968 Winter Games in Grenoble. Since that time, the mascot has become a regular feature at the Games appearing alone or with friends and taking not only animal forms but also those of traditional dolls and even an ice cube and a piece of snow. The latest mascot to join this special Olympic family is Wenlock, who will be welcoming fans to London in 2012.
Sochi was elected as the host city for the XXII Olympic Winter Games at the 119th IOC Session in Guatemala City on 4 July 2007. Sochi won the vote against the cities of Salzburg (Austria) and PyeongChang (Republic of Korea) in the second round of voting. The Russian city edged out PyeongChang 51 votes to 47, with Salzburg having been eliminated in round one. The Sochi Games will play host to the seven Olympic Winter sports currently on the Olympic programme and will run from 7 to 23 February 2014.