Originally called “Whatizit”, the name Izzy was chosen by 32 American children aged from 7 to 12 from among the following five names: Kirby, Starz, Zack, Gleamer and Izzy. This shortlist was produced from the more than 3,300 suggestions from children in 16 different countries.
A product of information technology, Izzy is blue and wears training shoes. The five Olympic rings are in various places around his body. After the Closing Ceremony of the 1992 Games in Barcelona, where he received a mixed reception when first presented, Whatizit was redesigned and renamed by the children of Atlanta. Over time, a mouth appeared where there had first been only lips; stars appeared in his eyes; and his initially skinny legs became more muscled. Finally, a nose grew in the middle of his face.
John Ryan, DESIGNefx
Did you know?
Izzy is an unusual mascot in that he is not an animal, nor a human figure, nor an object.
A 30-minute educational cartoon was created and shown throughout the autumn of 1995 on the Cartoon Network channel. To be able to get to the Olympic Games, Izzy had to win the five Olympic rings.
Izzy was also the hero of a video entitled “Izzy's Quest for the Olympic Rings”.
Find out more about the Atlanta 1996 Olympic Games on olympic.org