London 2012 Olympic mascots unveiled

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Two alien-like creatures called Mandeville and Wenlock have been unveiled as mascots for the London 2012 Games.

Going all-out for child appeal, London 2012 organisers created a cartoon and signed up best-selling children's writer Michael Morpurgo to build a background story for the abstract characters.

The mascots' names hark back to Britain's Olympic and Paralympic history. Wenlock is named after the Shropshire village of Much Wenlock. Baron Pierre de Coubertin, founder of the modern Olympic movement, was inspired to create the event after visiting the Wenlock Games.

Mandeville's name is inspired by Stoke Mandeville in Buckinghamshire where the forerunner to the paralympic games was founded in the 1940s.

Children from St Paul's Whitechapel Primary School in the east London Olympic borough were the first members of the public to see the duo in action.

London 2012 chair Lord Coe led a special assembly in the school hall and told the youngsters to think of them as "good friends".

But the dynamic duo, created for the digital age, are also key money-spinners for London 2012 which must raise £2 billion from the private sector to help stage the Games.

Organisers will be hoping the mascots avoids the controversy sparked by London 2012's £400,000 logo - which was widely criticised when it was launched.

London 2012 said it cost "a few thousand pounds" to create the designs but would not release a figure.

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