The characters are based on a story by children’s author Michael Morpurgo, are appear as artworks and in an animated film. The concept behind them is that they were created from the last drops of steel left over from the construction of the final support girder for the Olympic Stadium.
Wenlock’s name is inspired by the Wenlock Games, a precursor to the Olympics. Mandeville comes from the Stoke Mandeville Games, a forerunner of the Paralympics
The characters include yellow lights on their heads, which are inspired by London’s iconic black taxis. Wenlock wears friendship bands in the colours of the Olympic rings and Mandeville wears a timing device to track its personal best. The mascots’ single eye is a camera, which will "capture the people they meet, the places they go and the sports they try on their journey to 2012", according to the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG).
Over the next two and a half years, further versions inspired and created by sportspeople, celebrities and the British public will be featured on the London 2012 website and special edition collectables and toys will be made available for sale.
Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: "It's hard to imagine a mascot more in tune with the times ... Wenlock and Mandeville will prove a winning formula ... a solid coalition that will capture our imagination and help build a lasting legacy for our fabulous Games."
Iris's selection as the creative agency behind the characters follow an intensive selection process that included UK wide focus groups of young people, families and industry experts.