Weekend Post: Mandeville & Wenlock

Snapped by me at UDAC, on the TV was the rowing which won us our first gold medal of Super Saturday

The names of the mascots are fascinating, and both with ties to the Olympic and Paralympic games.

Wenlock’s name is inspired by the town of Much Wenlock, who first held Olympian Games in 1850, and this is considered to have been the inspiration for Pierre du Coubertin to start up the modern Olympic movement in 1890 when he established the International Olympic Committee.

The design of Wenlock is quite thoughtful (he’s the one with the orange detail in the picture), when one analyses it. He has on his wrists 5 friendship bracelets, which each take a colour of an Olympic ring. The three points protruding at the top of his head apparently symbolise the three places on the podium, and apparently they’re also a nod to the architecture of the Olympic Stadium. The orange oval with a W in it is a nod to London Taxis.

A clearer picture of Wenlock, snapped by me in Leicester Square.

The name Wenlock most probably derives from Old English, and like Whitlock before it, the second element of the name likely means enclosure/stronghold.

The second part is interesting because Wenna is the name of an obscure 5th century Cornish saint (are there any other kinds of Cornish saints?) with the name, which is a cognate of Gwen, a name that means white, pure, blessed.

Mandeville is for a hospital called Stoke Mandeville Hospital which organised the Stoke Mandeville Games for injured soldiers, and is considered a forerunner to the Paralympic Games.

Stoke Mandeville is a town, originally known simply as Stoke or Stoc in the Doomsday Book. The addition of Mandeville came with the Norman de Mandeville family settling in the area.

Ville is a common place suffix, think Bournville, which comes from French and means town. The first part of the name likely derives from the Germanic manno, which means man.

NB: Shortly after I posted this, Mo Farah grabbed his second gold medal in the 5000m and twitter was alight with people joking that Mo should name his twin girls Wenlock&Mandeville when they arrive in the next few weeks. 

Categories: Olympics | Tags: , | 3 Comments

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3 thoughts on “Weekend Post: Mandeville & Wenlock

  1. That was really interesting; I didn’t know all that about the early history of the Olympics and Paralympics.

    Mandeville reminds me of the satirist Bernard Mandeville, and the fictional English traveller, John de Mandeville.


  2. What great names! Wenna could be a great alternative to Willa, now that is getting more attention.


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