Fri, September 20, 2013

Tilleyvision: Phallic Olympic mascot just adorable

By STEVE TILLEY, QMI Agency


The official mascot for the London Games, Wenlock, may resemble a phallic symbol, but he's just so likeable on Twitter, Steve Tilley says.


Unlike most sporting arenas, there’s no advertising allowed at Olympic venues. They save that stuff for the broadcast and online coverage, where we poor saps at home are so inundated by commercial messages that we feel compelled to go to Rona to build a McDonald’s and pay for the construction with a Visa. (Which, thanks to Morgan Freeman, I now know is pronounced “vee-sah” and not “vee-zah.”)

But if you’ve been watching the athletics coverage at these Games, you might have seen the nifty little remote-controlled Minis zipping around the field, delivering javelins, shot puts and other equipment back to the throwing line. It’s Mini-owner BMW’s very clever way of getting around the no logos rule — the scale-model cars don’t have the manufacturer’s name on them, but they are emblazoned with the words “It’s a MINI adventure” and really, the shape of the car is unmistakable.

According to our own Autonet.ca, the 1/4-scale, 10-horsepower cars have a range of 100 metres, and can carry a single shot put, hammer, discus or two javelins. And being the person who gets to “drive” them must be one of the coolest jobs of the Games.

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When you have a last name that rhymes with “silly”, “frilly” and “willy,” you get used to people poking fun. Tittering over names like this is immature and obvious and not the sort of thing adults should engage in. So let’s do it!

In an epic-length thread on Reddit.com, scores of Redditors have been discussing which Olympians have the funniest-sounding names. Before you get all indignant, yes, these athletes’ accomplishments are amazing, and yes, their names are perfectly normal in their home countries. For all I know, “Tilley” means “dried antelope dung” in some African dialect. Actually, that would be kind of cool.

But when someone posted a photo of Iranian weightlifter Saeid Mohammadpourkarkaragh on the site, the competition was on. Contestants included U.S. volleyball player Destinee Hooker, Korean pole-vaulter Yoo Suk Kim, Chinese sailor Aichen Wang and Ghanaian heptathlete Margaret Simpson. (Does she go by Marge, or Maggie?)

The overall winner was Chinese trampoliner Dong Dong. But since Mr. Dong managed to ring up a gold medal win, I suspect he’s not too concerned with what people think of his name.

Dong Dong is also the runaway winner so far (30% of the vote) in QMI’s online poll on the best names at the Games. Go to http://tinyurl.com/blm48on to add your vote.

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Speaking of dongs, when the London 2012 organizing committee unveiled the official mascot of these Olympic Games, I thought it was actually an elaborate hoax. There’s no way this phallic, one-eyed monster (wait, is that redundant?) could possibly be an official representative of these Games.

But while Wenlock, as he’s known, might be one of the most bizarre mascots in Olympic history — and that’s saying something — he’s so frickin’ adorable on Twitter that it’s impossible not to like him. (Yes, at these “Socialympics” – barf – even the mascots tweet.)

The other day, @iamwenlock tweeted, “This is amazing! I get to cheer from the side of the track during the men’s 10000m final! Everyone in the Stadium’s going crazy!” And then when Great Britain’s Mo Farah won the gold medal, Wenlock could scarcely contain himself. “This picture is called EPIC HUG WITH @Mo_Farah :-D” he tweeted, along with a picture of him and a grinning Farah embracing.

He may look like a giant anthropomorphic set of male genitals, but Wenlock has a heart as golden as his home country’s medal tally.

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Gender misidentification of the day: “There is Victoria Pendleton of Great Britain. Pardon me. That’s Jason Kenny. There’s a major difference between Victoria Pendleton and Jason Kenny.” – CTV cycling commentator Jamie Campbell, losing his place in the program. You’d think with those skintight spandex suits cyclists wear, the difference would be rather, um, pronounced.