Mascots set to provoke debate
More than a million people on the London 2012 database will be receiving emails very soon telling them about the next landmark in the Olympic story. This time it's not about tickets or venues: rather, it's about what will have one of its manifestations as a cuddly toy. Yes, the mascots are going to be unveiled later this week.
With due respect to the seriousness with which this week's launch is being handled, mascots should be more about the fun side of London 2012. I was of a generation that recognised determined-looking lion World Cup Willie as a lasting image of 1966; and Zakumi, allegedly a leopard, will shortly be unavoidable as the symbol of South Africa 2010.
Willie was a pioneer for major sporting events, and the Olympics rapidly followed the way of football. By the time we got to Beijing in 2008 there was a whole family of the critters, one of the more surreal moments of the Games coming at the diving where the bursts of music in-between the competitors were accompanied by demented poolside dancing from the mascots.
But we should not mock. Mascots provoke debate, and ours is about to begin. I should say that the mascot is chosen by the London organising committee - Locog - and this is an area they alone run.
Athena and Phevos were the unusual mascots of the Athens Games in 2004
The BBC, however, will be telling the story of the launch, and you can expect to learn about how the mascot came into being on our radio programmes on Wednesday morning, followed by what should be the first sighting of the mascot on "The One Show" on Wednesday at 7pm. I'll make sure we post something here too.
It's now too late now to affect the design, but feel free to add any thoughts at this stage. What do you think the measure of success should be? There's speculation about the names and, although the die seems to be cast, let us know if there's anything you love or hate.
I think we can safely say they won't be known as Miga, Quatchi or Sumi since they were the guys in Vancouver; but that still leaves an infinite number of other choices.
We will find out what the organisers went with in less than 48 hours.