March 01, 2006

I Am Aster … So Play Safe

Aster, Prone, With Rifle

Anticipating the start of the 2006 Paralympic Winter Games, I wandered over to the official web site and was greeted by this image. That's Aster, the lovable cartoon mascot of the Torino Paralympics, prone on the snow with a rifle.

I know that this is supposed to depict biathlon, but does this give anybody else the creeps? It's not as creepy as the 400 brides at the Olympic closing ceremonies, but it's disturbing, don't you think?

I also wonder about the design of the mascot itself. Is it just an accident that the Paralympic mascot is named Aster and looks just like an asterisk? As in a parenthetical annotation that provides further explanation? e.g. Paralympic gold medallist, 2006, long distance biathlon*.

And of course, the term "asterisk" in sports almost always has a negative connotation: see Olympic gold medallist, 2004**. I know, I know, Aster is a snowflake, or an ice crystal, or something. But am I the only one who notices these things?

*LW10 class

**Due to judging error

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