Zoich the frog, the Internet favorite in the race to become the mascot for the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, has been created at the request of the games’ organizing committee.
The head of Sochi 2014’s organizing committee, Dmitry Chernyshenko, revealed the “shocking” truth to Moskovsky Komsomolets journalists, as Zoich’s “father”, the artist Egor Zhgun, confirmed that he had been hired for the job.
According to Chernyshenko, Zoich was introduced to the public in order to attract more attention to the mascot vote, especially among Internet users.
The official added that it’s not a new idea as the organizers of the Moscow 1980 Olympics used the witchlike character, Baba Yaga, for the same purposes.
On June 14, the organizing committee registered the intellectual property rights on Zoich, as well as on the Snow Leopard, Polar Bear and Hare, who came top in the nationwide vote to become Sochi 2014’s mascot.
The name “Zoich” comes from the way Internet pranksters read the number “2014” on the Sochi Games logo.
The mock Olympic symbol is a furry frog, with spinning multi-colored Olympic rings instead of eyeballs, wearing the imperial crown.
Despite its enormous popularity on the web, Zoich wasn’t included in the Top 10 mascot ideas to take part in the nationwide vote back in February.