Pity Mukmuk. While his friends Quatchi, Miga and Sumi gallivant off everywhere entertaining children in the lead up to the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games, Mukmuk the marmot is left to pick up the trash and tag along behind. For those of you who don’t know poor Mukmuk, he’s the virtual reality sidekick to the Vancouver 2010 mascots. He lives mainly in cyberspace. Well, cyber jail, really, because he doesn’t get out much.
Unlike his friends, who are real mascots, Mukmuk’s parents, the Vancouver Organizing Committee, see him as a pint-sized tag end whose place in the Games seems akin to an afterthought. The end of a sentence. Or, as they say in their literature: “Sidekick to the Vancouver 2010 Mascots.”
Sort of like “secretary to the president” or “official sweeper upper.”
Instead of being the Vancouver Island marmot that he is, Mukmuk has become something of a gofer. As in “Hey Mukmuk, go for this” or “go for that.” And the pity is, he’s the only real animal of the lot.
As a Vancouver Island marmot, he’s one of only an estimated 205 that have survived wolves, eagles and loggers. That makes him almost as rare as Quatchi the Sasquatch, Miga the “sea bear” and Sumi, the thunderbird-like “animal guardian spirit.”
I’ll bet many of you thought when Vanoc unveiled the mascots, “hey, what about that little guy at the end? Why isn’t he also going to be made into a toy?” At least now you can buy little MukMuks with the red olympic gloves at London Drugs. That sold out in about a day leaving tonnes of the “other mascot” toys around. Doesnt that say something?! The Mukster is popular! (or maybe they just stocked 1/8 of his toys vs the other ones.)
So far, all we’ve seen of the little furball is a cameo appearance in the video introduction of the Three Amigos. He’s the poor sod shivering on a mountain top, skiing down to Whistler on a para-ski thrown to him by Sumi, and handing the hot cocoa-drinking mascots an invitation to attend the 2010 Games. He’s had to bring up the rear every time The Officials head off anywhere, holding up a “We’re No. 1” mitt.
The only thing he’s missing is the broom with which to sweep up the confetti at the end of the tickertape parade. Oh, and he takes out the recycling. Vanoc gave him the job of throwing around boxes of recyclables like curling rocks in its interactive game “Operation Recycle” while the headliners lounge on the sidelines.
This is what I see Vanoc describing the little homie as: Mukmuk is a small and friendly Vancouver Island marmot who always supports and cheers loudly for his friends during games and races. When he is not hibernating or sunbathing on rocks and logs, he enjoys getting out to meet other types of marmots and animals. In fact, this is how he became friends with the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic mascots.
They also say his hobbies are “eating, burrowing, eating, making friends, eating.” Sounds like me… but not a ringing endorsement of his capabilities, I’d say. Won’t get him any contracts for any other kind of work.
Even I’m not really sure what he is. I mean, I instinctively like him just because he’s the outcast (I have a soft spot for Kogepan too). I know he’s got great things going for him. But what does he like to do? What would he like to do if he was a full-fledged mascot? Where does he live, and with whom? What’s his favorite sport? Does he have any fears (like flying or getting caught while sunning himself on a log?) Apart from Quatchi, Miga and Sumi, who are his friends? Does he have any stories of his own he wants to tell? Poor little guy. All I know is that this Friday when the torch lights the last flame to start the Olympics, I’ll be cheering for Canada just as loud as the little dude.