Fatso the Fat-Arsed Wombat

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Side view of "Fatso the Fat-Arsed Wombat" as he appeared on top of a pole outside Sydney's Stadium Australia.

Fatso the Fat-Arsed Wombat was an unofficial mascot of the Sydney 2000 Summer Olympics created by Sydney cartoonist Paul Newell with Roy and HG from the Australian Channel Seven sports/comedy television program The Dream with Roy and HG, which covered the event.[1][2] He took the form of a life-size stuffed toy wombat with a lazy, cheerful expression and comically pronounced rump, and usually appeared on The Dream broadcasts on Roy and HG's desk.

Fatso was a spoof of the official Olympic mascots Syd, Ollie and Millie, whom Roy & HG disparaged as "Ollie, Millie and Dickhead".[3] He was nicknamed "the battlers' prince" and proved to be more popular among Australian fans (and some visitors who viewed the program) than the official mascots.[4] Fatso appeared with Gold Medalists Susie O'Neill, Grant Hackett and the Australian men's 4×200 metre relay team on the winners' dais.[1][2] He consequently appears on an official commemorative postage stamp of the Australian men's 4×200 metre relay team in the arms of Michael Klim.[5] During the Olympics, the Australian Olympic Committee attempted to ban athletes appearing with Fatso to stop him upstaging their official mascots.[2] The ensuing public relations disaster forced the president of the AOC, John Coates, and the director general of the IOC, Francois Carrard, to distance their organisations from these attempts.[1][6]

In keeping with Fatso's role as a protest against the commercialization of Olympic mascots,[3] only two Fatsos were officially produced: one for use in the studio and the other for use in the athletes' village.[1] At the end of the Olympics, one of the Fatsos was auctioned for the Olympic Aid charity, selling for A$80,450 to Seven Network executive chairman Kerry Stokes. Fatso is currently housed in a glass box in Kerry Stokes's North Sydney office.[6] A number of unofficial Fatso toys and memorabilia were sold by merchants without authorization from the producers of The Dream.[7][8] A statue of Fatso appears as part of an official Olympic memorial outside the Sydney Olympic Stadium, commemorating the volunteers who worked during the Olympics.[6] The Fatso statue was vandalised in late September 2010, then stolen sometime before 8 October 2010.[9]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Jim Parsons (26 September 2000). "'Fat-arsed' wombat mascot causes uproar in Australia". The Daily Cougar. Retrieved 2006-04-11. [dead link]
  2. ^ a b c "The Rise of Fatso - The Fat Arsed Sydney Olympics Wombat". Strategic Resources International. February 2001. Retrieved 2006-04-11. 
  3. ^ a b Marr, Jim (8 December 2000). "Satire: Roy Slaven on the Rampage". Workers Online (81). Retrieved 2006-06-30. 
  4. ^ Singer, Jill (30 March 2006). "Is John So still our bro?". Herald Sun Sunday. Archived from the original on 6 November 2006. Retrieved 2006-04-11. 
  5. ^ Reuters (22 September 2000). "'Groin gags, anti-mascot fatso lift Aussie duo to cult". indiavarta.com. Archived from the original on 28 September 2007. Retrieved 2007-03-21. 
  6. ^ a b c Browne, Rachel (18 July 2004). "Roy, HG leave Fatso home". Sun Herald. Retrieved 2006-06-30. 
  7. ^ Fatso the Wombat Online: THE Unofficial Fatso Fanclub, Pandora Archive, National Library of Australia, archived 2000-11-20
  8. ^ Fatso the Wombat Online: THE Unofficial Fatso Fanclub Tee-Shirt order form, Pandora Archive, National Library of Australia, archived 2000-11-20
  9. ^ "Fatso the Wombat goes wandering". The Daily Telegraph. 8 October 2010. Retrieved 20 October 2010.