Mascots of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, inspired by local aboriginal lore and Canada’s hinterland, have made their debut in this Pacific Coast metropolis.
Unveiled before hundreds of schoolchildren, Miga, Quatchi, Sumi and their sidekick Mukmuk were said to have emerged from the gigantic trees, soaring mountains and a restless ocean of Canada’s westernmost province.
“The mascots truly represent the people, geography and spirit of British Columbia and Canada, while personifying the essence of the 2010 Winter Games,” said John Furlong, head of the Olympic organising committee.
Miga is a snowboarding sea bear inspired by the legends of the Pacific North-west First Nations of orca whales that transform into bears when they arrive on land. He is also part Spirit Bear, a rare white bear unique to the province.
Quatchi is a shy sasquatch, Canada’s version of a yeti or big foot. Sumi is an animal spirit who wears the hat of the orca whale, flies with the wings of the mighty thunderbird and runs on the furry legs of the black bear. His name is derived from the Salish word “sumesh,” meaning “guardian spirit.”