Zoich, the Sochi Olympics Anti-Mascot

(YouTube link)

Zoich is a blue frog with only two legs and whirling Olympic rings for eyes. He very much resembles Hypnotoad to Western viewers. When the Russian Olympic Committee held a nationwide contest to select the mascot for the Sochi Olympics back in 2010, he drew more votes by far than any of the thousands of other designs. You know how internet voters are. Of course, the Committee overruled the voting and selected a few other designs as finalists. Zoich remains a popular character in Russia, mainly as a protest over how the Olympics are being handled.

But Zoich turned out to be a ringer. Russian artist Yegor Zhgun was commissioned to produce an attention-getting design to promote the contest itself. The stunt worked magnificently, but Zoich never had any chance of being selected. You can see Zhgun’s design process here. But here are the official Sochi Olympics mascots:

A cute leopard, hare, and polar bear. They all live together in harmony, along with Snowflake and Ray of Light (“Snezhinka” and “Luchik”), the Paralympics mascots, in a snow-covered dacha in Sochi. They should have gone with the frog. -via Digg

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