ROME - After relatively little anticipation the organizers for the 2006 Turin (that's in Italy) Olympics announced their choice for the official mascots. Cartoon characters named Neve and Gliz, supposedly representing a ball of snow and a block of ice were paraded around for a short while for the international press before they began melting.
Their debut came a mind numbing 500 days before the games are to begin which reminds everyone of the lengths Italy will go to in order to remain relevant.
For the big day, the Italians paraded out their stable of great winter Olympic champions. From Alberto Tomba to Alberto Tomba, the medalist lined up in a show of support for the "special needs" mascots.
The pair was selected from over 200 entries. A panel of judges defended the always second-guessed choice of mascots by saying that, "out of the two hundred we only received two entries from our Italian brothers and sisters that did not have inappropriate protruding body parts."
Three hundred other entries were tossed due to overwhelming cologne. Apparently one judge had to take leave of the project as his eyes were burned "very, very badly". Out of the ashes rose Neve, who is red and somehow is supposed to represent snow, and Gliz, sky blue and symbolizes the ongoing search for a cure for downs syndrome.
Artist and mascot designer Pedro Albuquerque said they were "meant to represent Olympic values like friendship, fair play and the grotesquely misshapen bodies of doped up athletes."
Much attention has been paid to the progress made by the Turin organizers after their Olympic predecessors, the city of Athens, had problems such as unfinished stadiums and their reluctance to move out of Greece. Turin Readiness Committee head Valentino "The Big Meatball" Castellani assured International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge by showing him the handcrafted snow flakes that will dominate the 2006 Winter Games, "You see," said Castellani "no two are the same. This is great Italian craftsmanship."
The IOC has noted worries about the Italians' ability to offer protection for the athletes and visiting dignitaries. When asked why this was not addressed during the process of awarding the games, IOC President Rogge stated simply, "Well, I owed the Italians a ‘solid'. Besides it is hard to make hard decisions like that so far in advance with so much cash clouding the process."
"Rome was not built in a day, Castellani said. "We still have 500 days, I'm sure we Italians will work very hard for some undetermined fraction of that time.". "Everyone shares the same objective, to get stinking drunk and hit on the women's ski team from Sweden."
The games, which begin Jan. 10, 2006, will have a budget of $1.38 billion and feature about 2,500 athletes from 85 countries, and are sure to disappoint millions.