Meet the gifted teen behind the Lillehammer 2016 mascot
Line Ansethmoen won the global online contest to design a mascot for the Winter Youth Olympic Games Lillehammer 2016. She discusses the creative process that led to the emergence of Sjogg.
“It was my mum who showed me the link to the competition,” says Line Ansethmoen. “It said ‘Post your pictures of the mascot for Lillehammer 2016’. I had to get my skates on!”
The budding artist dug out her notepad and tried a few sketches, starting with the outline of a fox, to which she then added clothes. She subsequently imagined other animals that were “cuter”, in her words, prior to producing a new “entirely digital” image, containing “things that you see in our region of Norway”.
Neil Turner for YIS/IOC
It was then that the talented 18-year-old, who is a native of Lillehammer, thought of a lynx. “I gave him large paws, like a real lynx. I added skis, so that he’d look sporty. And then I gave him big eyes – as cute as possible.” Pointing out her real-life cat, she explains, “He helped me to make the drawing more cat-like.”
The competition result was decided by a vote on Facebook. The Winter YOG page experienced a huge spike in activity during the spring of 2014, as users voted on a number of mascot proposals. By June, three superb works of art – Line’s lynx, plus an elk and a weasel – had made it onto the final shortlist.
After thousands of votes had been cast, the lynx eventually emerged victorious from the tight contest, finishing just 30 votes ahead of the weasel. All that remained was to choose a name for the new mascot, an issue on which over 22,000 Facebook users had their say. In the end, “Sjogg”, which means “snow” in Lillehammer and the surrounding region, was given the nod. Line was delighted after viewing the final version of the mascot. “I think it looks really nice,” she said at the time.
Sjogg is actually a mix of an imaginary creature and a lynx. Fun-loving, he sports a blue hooded top with green bottoms, inspired by the mountains that loom over Lillehammer and symbolising the different cultures gathered together in this part of Norway to share incredible experiences and make friends for life.
“You see him everywhere now!” exclaims Line. “He’s just like a kid. He’s become really popular.” The proof of this statement lies in the numerous “selfies” taken with the adorable mascot that have appeared on social networks around the world.
As for Line, she doesn’t need to take selfies with Sjogg – as she has the original sketches at home – a lasting reminder of an exceptional experience!