The Olympics may have ended in Atlanta several weeks ago, but the planning for future Games goes on. Three Olympics are already counting down the days - the 1998 Winter Games in Nagano, Japan; the 2000 summer Games in Sydney, Australia; and the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City, Utah.
The city selected to host the 2004 Olympics won't be named for roughly another year. Eleven cities are in the running. Whichever community is chosen will need a mascot, so the Monitor enlisted the help of young readers to create suitable candidates. The call went out on July 9 in Kidspace for would-be mascot designers to get to work to meet a July 30 deadline.
Readers were free to choose a mascot for any one of the following cities: Athens (Greece), Buenos Aires (Argentina), Cape Town (South Africa), Istanbul (Turkey), Lille (France), Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Seville (Spain), Rome (Italy), St. Petersburg (Russia), San Juan (Puerto Rico), and Stockholm (Sweden).
Just as with Atlanta, which passed over the animal kingdom to come up with its cartoonish Izzy mascot, so too did some of our crayon-and-marker-wielding volunteer art-ists.
Picking up on the universal theme of Olympic competition, two entrants suggested that a globe would serve nicely as a generic mascot.
Another reader concluded that the sun would make an ideal choice for Rio de Janeiro, a South American bid city.
Ol' Sol also might be a logical choice for Cape Town, which is trying to become the first African city to host an Olympics. Cape Town is considered a front-runner for that very reason.
If selected, it would be only the second city south of the equator to host the summer Games. Melbourne, Australia, which shares a similar latitude, put on the 1956 Olympics.
Those Olympics were a reminder that the seasons flip-flop Down Under. The Games began Nov. 22 and ended Dec. 8.
Four years from now, Sydney will host the first Games of the new millennium between Sept. 15 and Oct. 1, which is early spring in Australia.
Sydney's Olympic organizers haven't yet unveiled a mascot. Many people will be surprised if neither a kangaroo nor a koala bear is picked, since both are native to Australia.
Animals have most often been used to put a warm and fuzzy face on the Games. After Munich, Germany, introduced the world to Waldi, a dachshund and the first Olympic mascot in 1972, summer hosts followed with a beaver (Montreal), bear (Moscow), eagle (Los Angeles), tiger (Seoul, South Korea), and sheepdog (Barcelona, Spain) before Atlanta broke the mold with Izzy.
Some adults didn't like Izzy because he was so untraditional. He proved popular, however, with young people, whose input was sought in redesigning and renaming him (from Whatizit).
And who knows, perhaps young people will also influence the choice of the 2004 mascot. It could look like one of the winning designs on these pages.
Thanks to everyone who sent in a drawing. We received dozens. Unfortunately, there isn't room to show off all of our favorites.
(For Lille, France)
Bizwod grew up working in a carnival freak show, but Bizwod had a dream in his heart and a javelin pole in his hand, so he ran away from the circus one night to try out for the Olympic Games. Bizwod was quickly rejected because he overlooked the fact that he had no athletic talent whatsoever; so, what else could Bizwod do other than to become the official mascot for the Olympic games!
Buster Cunningham, Grade 7
(For Buenos Aires, Argentina)
My mascot is a sun. I chose it because of a story that tells that when Argentina won its freedom from Spain, the sun came out from the clouds.
Abigail Halpin, Grade 11
North Berwick, Maine
(For Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
I chose a scarlet macaw because it lives in Brazil. It has bright rainbow colors. It is beautiful, noble, intelligent, powerful, graceful, joyful. Rainbow is for all the people and nations of the world.
Devon Whiteway, Grade 2
'L'ESCARGOT' (For Lille, France)
I chose the snail because that is a favorite food of France. He is purple and green, with a competitive attitude with sports. He is so small [but] he is strong enough not to be eaten or beaten.
Submitted by Rebecca Lenn, Grade 6
(For Lille, France)
I chose it because he lives in France and he is an artist! He wears a beret.
Mia Signs, Grade 5
(For Cape Town,
It is an aardvark. He has big ears for good listening. He lives in South Africa.
Saya Signs, Grade 2
(For All the Cities)
Because of all the countries in the Olympics.
Matthew G. Martz, Grade 6