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From Lyo & Merly to Pandi: all the YOG mascots through time

2018-06-19 10:29:00

Following the announcement that #Pandi will be the mascot for the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) Buenos Aires 2018, we look back at the mascots from previous editions of the Games.

Just like Olympic mascots, which were first introduced at the Olympic Games Munich 1972, Youth Olympic mascots play an important role in spreading the event's message and the Olympic values of friendship, respect, and excellence, especially among young fans. Here, we take a look back at all the YOG mascots so far…

Lyo and Merly

With Singapore being widely known as the “Lion City”, and its national symbol being the mythical “merlion”, there was plenty of local inspiration behind the official mascots of the inaugural YOG, which were held in the south-east Asian city-state in 2010. Lyo, whose name was an abbreviation of “Lion of the Youth Olympics”, was based on a lion cub and boasted a red mane that reflected the “Flame of Passion” from the Singapore 2010 emblem. Merly, meanwhile, got her name from “mer” (meaning the sea) and “ly” standing for “liveliness” and “youthfulness”. Her look was inspired by the merlion – a mythical sea creature with a lion’s head and a fish’s body that is popular in Singaporean folklore.


Yoggl, with his big googly eyes and multi-coloured ski suit, proved an instant hit as the mascot of the Winter YOG Innsbruck 2012. Designed by Florencia Demaría and Luis Andrés Abbiati of Argentina, and chosen through a Facebook competition, Yoggl was based on an Alpine chamois – a species of goat-antelope native to the steep, rugged and rocky Karwendel Mountains above the Youth Olympic venues of Innsbruck, Seefeld and Kühtai. His name, meanwhile, was inspired by the rustic nickname “Joggl”, which is short for Jakob – a very common name in the host region.


NanjingLELE could be seen everywhere during the YOG Nanjing 2014 – from the plush toys clutched by young fans and medal-winners to billboards throughout the city and even a starring role in the Closing Ceremony. This cheeky little character was inspired by the host city’s famous Yuhua stones – colourful translucent pebbles that are found on the bed of the Yangtze River – and was designed following a nationwide competition entered by more than 1.2 million students from 903 Chinese colleges and universities. The name “LeLe” was chosen to reflect the noise that Yuhua stones make when they come into contact with each other and is pronounced in the same way as the Chinese word meaning “happiness” or “joy”.


Sjogg, the mascot of the Winter YOG Lillehammer 2016, took his name from the local word for “snow” and was based on a mountain lynx – a wild cat found in Norway. While these lynx are usually shy, sport-loving Sjogg was incredibly sociable during the YOG, interacting with fans and athletes in Sjogg Park and other venues throughout the Games.

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