How the Olympic Bear appeared

On October 23, 1974, at the 75th session of the International Olympic Committee in Vienna, it was decided that the XXII Summer Olympic Games would be held in 1980 in Moscow.

Already next year, our country began to prepare for a grandiose sporting event; the Olympics were held in the Soviet Union for the first time. In Moscow, Leningrad, Kiev, Minsk and Tallinn, the construction or reconstruction of sports facilities has begun, where the Olympic competitions are to be held.

The organizing committee of the Olympics has started choosing a mascot for the upcoming. Games. It was decided that it would be a Russian bear - a symbol of power and perseverance. It remains only to pick up an image of this powerful and beautiful animal.

In 1977, a competition was announced in the country for the best image of the Olympic mascot. After the selection, the best was the sketch of the artist Viktor Chizhikov, a well-known illustrator of children's books in the country.

On April 1, 1977, the image of the Bear was handed over to the Organizing Committee, but it was returned for revision, there was no Olympic symbolism in the drawing. Then the artist decided that this cute bear would have a belt with a buckle in the form of 5 Olympic rings. The new drawing was even approved by the President of the International Olympic Committee, Michael Killanin, and on December 19, 1977 Mishka was officially approved as the mascot of the Moscow Olympics.

The mass production of Olympic symbols with the image of the Russian bear began. Millions of posters, badges, stamps and other souvenirs featuring a smiling bear have been produced.

And the six-meter doll, depicting the Bear, became a real hero of the closing ceremony of the Games. It was manufactured in Zagorsk (now Sergiev Posad) at the branch of the Moscow Research Institute of the Rubber Industry. A special rubberized fabric was filled with helium, and in order for the doll to fly smoothly, Mishka's legs had to be made heavier.

During the closing ceremony, 24 balloons lifted the Bear over the stadium. In parting, the bear waved his paw and disappeared into the sky.

There are several versions about the further fate of the rubber bear. The main one - he landed on Vorobyovy Gory, after which he was taken to the warehouse. It was rumored that a West German firm offered DM 100, 000 for the Olympic mascot, but was refused.

It is said that the doll was kept in the basement of the Olympic Committee for several years and was destroyed by rodents.