Norfolk’s Olympic mascot Olly launched
The city first fell in love with the tracksuit-wearing elephant as part of a popular arts project three years ago, below, and now he has been brought to life as the county's Olympic mascot.
Olly, Norfolk's mascot for the London 2012 Games, was launched yesterday at Active Norfolk's sports hall athletics holiday course at Easton College, near Norwich.
Over the next year, the athletic-looking elephant will become a familiar face across Norfolk as he attends Olympic-related events, including Village Games roadshows and finals, Fit4Work Corporate Games, the Royal Norfolk Show, School Games and Norfolk's Disability Youth and Adult Games.
The idea for Olly first came from the creation of Active Norfolk's fibreglass elephant for Norwich's Go Elephant project in 2008.
The animal, designed by Mik Richardson, generated so much interest in St Peters Street, Norwich, that Active Norfolk decided to buy him at the charity auction. They then ran a competition to name him and Olly was born.
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Olly was then taken to various events around the county and proved to be a crowd generator. To make him easier to transport and to help him participate at events and meet youngsters, it was then decided to make a mascot version of him.
Laurie Hull, director of Active Norfolk, said: 'I think that it is important to have an official mascot and Olly is engaging, fun and very approachable.
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'He transcends all ages and we would like him to become the face of Norfolk's support for the 2012 Games. He is something the people of Norfolk can relate to on a local level.'
At yesterday's event, Olly presented 40 youngsters aged between eight and 15 with goody bags after they had taken part in running, jumping and throwing activities.
Back in 2008, the Go Elephant exhibition saw 53 fibreglass elephants dotted around the city, each with their own unique design. The elephants were sold off at the end of the project and raised more than �200,000 for Clic Sargent and the Born Free Foundation.
Don't miss updates on Olly's adventures in the Evening News and for latest Olympic news, go to the London Calling section on our website www.eveningnews24.co.uk.
Have you got an Olympics-related story? Call reporter Kate Scotter on 01603 772326 or email firstname.lastname@example.org