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From Keyano to Clyde, remembering the Commonwealth Games Mascots

History of Commonwealth Games Mascots.

News 26 Nov 2015, 22:10 IST
Clyde, seen here roaming around the main stadium in Glasgow

Mascots at most major sporting events are omnipresent. From being a goodwill ambassador for the spectacle to being an advertising and marketing tool, they are perhaps the most adored objects that we come across in the arenas or the Games Village. Glasgow thus was no different to this protocol. Thistle man ‘Clyde’, named after the river, was the official mascot for the 2014 Commonwealth Games there. 

It was designed by 12 year old Beth Gilmour, who won a competition run by the organisers for children to come up with a suitable character for the games. In a statement given to the media, the organizing committee chairman of Glasgow 2014 said the mascot's design was chosen, because of its “Scottish symbolism and Glaswegian charm and likeability.”

It’s interesting to note that Digital agency NERV turned Beth’s design into a commercial character, drafted a background story and gave it the name – Clyde and later unveiled it in a seven-minute animated film at a ceremony at BBC Scotland's headquarters in Glasgow in 2012. 

This is however not the first instance of the Commonwealth Games, or the British Empire Games, as it was known in the past to have a mascot of its own. The tradition was initiated in 1978 when organizers at Edmonton came up with ‘Keyano-the Grizzly Bear’ and has continued. Below mentioned are the mascots from different editions since: 

1978 Edmonton Commonwealth Games | Keyano, the Grizzly bear:

As aforementioned the mascot for the 1978 Commonwealth Games was Keyano. The mascot represented the Swan Hills Grizzly Bear, native to Alberta, Canada, and found only in the Swan Hills, a heavily-forested mountain region of North Alberta. The word ‘Keyano’ meant ‘unity and brotherhood’, and thus appropriately describes the Friendly Games.

1982 Brisbane Commonwealth Games | Matilda, the Kangaroo.

1986 Edinburgh Commonwealth Games | Mac, the dog:

Mac, the Scottish Terrier was bred in the highlands of Scotland. Oblivious to the rest of the world till late 1870s, these species were bred to hunt vermin that eat grain, eggs and poultry and were hugely popular during the games.

1990 Auckland Commonwealth Games | Goldie, the Kiwi bird: 

The Kiwi bird had for long had been the mascot for both the host nations Olympic and Commonwealth Games teams. Thus it was expected that the mascot of the games would be a rendition of the same. 

1994 Victoria Commonwealth Games | Klee Wych, the whale:

‘Klee Wych’, the Killer Whale, was inspired by the intelligent and graceful animals native to Canadian waters, usually associated with the exquisiteness and vitality of British Columbia, Canada. It also symbolised fun, festivities and the host city's popular culture.

1998 Kuala Lumpur Commonwealth Games | Wira, the orangutan:

‘Wira’ means warrior in Habasa Malaysia. One of the world's largest primates, it is found in the Malaysian states of Sarawak and Sabah.

2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games | Kit, the Lion-Cat hybrid

2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games | Karak, a south-eastern Red-tailed Black Cockatoo:

Named ‘Karak’ after its distinctive voice, this native Australian species was selected because it embodied the all-welcoming spirit. Like most of its predecessors, the beautifully designed Karak connected beautifully with the masses and proved to be massively popular before and during the games.

2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games | Shera, the tiger:

The latest and perhaps the most vividly talked about mascot of the Commonwealth Games was from the latest edition. Depicting the national animal of India, Shera, the Royal Bengal Tiger embodied Indian values of courage, power and grace and was extensively used by the organizers in the promotions leading up to the games.


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