Teddy bear (Олимпийский Мишка, Olympic Mishka) mascote of XXII Olympic Games (1980, Moscow, USSR) is the most treasured, loved and nostalgic symbol for every russian (which can be compared only to Cheburashka). His image is very recognizable.
Even though i was born 5 years after Olympiad 80, i know about its famous closing ceremony, when a giant Mishka flew away on a bunch of balloons, accompanied by a sad song and tears. Though he had a tragic end: “…a few hours later it was found on the Sparrow hills. Then, he was lying forgotten for a few years on VDNKH stock and finally was eaten by rats”, he is still alive in memories.
Therefore the choice of symbols for Winter Olympics in Sochi 2014 was very difficult. Anyway instead of one mascote we have 5 (ray, snowflake, hare, polar bear and the leopard). But trio of leo, bear and hear appears to be everywhere: on candies, outfit, airplanes, credit cards.
Winter Games in the subtropical Sochi became the main joke in Russia. People make fun of the climate and lack of snow, time, cost and quality of construction and Olypmic Fire (which was lit from lighters, because it went out for more than 300 times, but was taken into space and into Baikal lake). But it all began back at the stage of selection of the Olympic Mascots. People voted for “Glass of Vodka” and a “Saw” as russian symbols. Well, Стакаша (Stakasha, diminutive from Stakan – glass of vodka) is clearly a national hero.
As for the saw, the expression “saw, cut” means legally steal money. It’s a slang expression used in business and politics. Meaning popular method of development of the budget. «Пилить» means assign only a portion of the budget taking a kind of «shavings», while the whole ammount is being «cut» between stakeholders. Sure in terms on billions dollars spent for olimpic games, saw can definitely become a symbol.
Another alternative heroe is Mister Jirnov from “The Simpsons” s21e12. What’ll you take for the pearls? Nothing you got, Junior. Really? Not even this first-ever pin from the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia? His name is Fatov. He represents the Russian spirit of sloth and alcoholism. Ah. Fatov. (“Lara’s Theme” from Dr. Zhivago plays) All for you.