A Moose in the Village

A giant moose standing guard outside the Team Canada residence in the Olympic village has quickly become a main attraction at the London 2012 Games.

Athletes and fans have taken an instant liking to the shiny red replica and are scrambling to take photos with him.

“It’s the talk of the town,” said Canadian Olympic Team Chef de Mission Mark Tewksbury.  “It just gives people a smile. It’s really Canadian, really unique, and helps us stand out as a team.”

“We love it and for me it represents Canada,” said Amy Cotton who will be competing for Canada in Judo after reaching the quarter finals in Athens.

The moose is, in fact, the very same moose that represented the Canadian Team in Vancouver two years ago. Known as Swagger during the Vancouver 2010 Winter Games, our big red friend is currently nameless, but not for long.

His owners, the Canadian Olympic athletes, will make the final call and there is no doubt they will choose a fitting name, one that resonates with Canadians everywhere.

“We are getting quite attached to that moose,” said Roseline Filion who will be competing in the 10m synchronized diving event with Meaghan Benfeito after they finished seventh in Beijing.

While Swagger was receiving a white-to-red makeover and being shipped to London by sea freight, his identical twin Slider, who lived in Whistler during the 2010 Winter Games, was auctioned off.

With his sparkling new coating of Maple Leaf red paint, the 300-pound unofficial Canadian Olympic Team mascot not only stands out in the village, but also creates a sense of pride among members of the Canadian Team.

Jessica Phoenix, who will be representing Canada as a member of the Equestrian team, said: “The moose is a Canadian icon guarding Canada’s Olympic village house and the gold.”

— By Kristina Velan