Powder, Copper, Coal and Otto

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Powder, Copper and Coal
Salt Lake 2002 Olympic Mascots.svg
Mascots of the 2002 Winter Olympics (Salt Lake City)
CreatorSteve Small
SignificanceA snowshoe hare (Powder), a coyote (Copper) and an American black bear (Coal) named after three Utah natural resources
Salt Lake 2002 Paralympic Mascot.svg
Mascot of the 2002 Winter Paralympics (Salt Lake City)
CreatorSteve Small
SignificanceA sea otter named after the Italian word for eight

Powder, Copper and Coal were the official mascots of the 2002 Winter Olympics and Otto was the official mascot of the 2002 Winter Paralympics, both held in Salt Lake City, United States.

Design history[edit]

The design process for the mascots began in September 1997, and after prototypes were created, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) approved the mascots in December 1998.[1] The Salt Lake Organizing Committee (SLOC) worked with Landor Associates of San Francisco, California, and Publicis to design and market the mascots. The original illustrator of the mascots was Steve Small, known for his work in Rugrats and Disney's Hercules.[2] For the 2002 Winter Paralympic Games, SLOC subsequently requested Small, Landor and Publicis for the creation of a new mascot along the creative lines of Powder, Copper and Coal. They created "Otto", an otter that is to convey the agility and vitality of the athletes.[3]


All three mascots were publicly unveiled during a celebration on May 15, 1999, at the Triad Center in downtown Salt Lake City. This celebration was hosted by Olympian Kristi Yamaguchi and also celebrated 1,000 remaining days until the start of the 2002 games.[4] The mascots were unveiled during the ceremony as actor and American Indian Billy Daydodge narrated the mascots' stories (which are based on legends from American Indian traditions).[2]

On September 25, 1999, the names of the mascots were announced during a BYU Football game, in Provo, Utah (prior to this only the type of animals and their legends were known). Utah schoolchildren had originally suggested names for the mascots, and the top picks were then publicly voted on; the first in Olympic history.[5]

Meaning and legends[edit]

The mascots are indigenous animals of the Western U.S., and are named after natural resources (except for Otto) which have long been important to Utah's economy, survival, and culture. All four animals are major characters in the legends of local American Indians, and each mascot (except for Otto) wears a charm around its neck with an original Anasazi or Fremont-style petroglyph to remind them of their heritage.[5][6][7]

Name Powder Copper Coal Otto
Gender Female Male Male Male
Name origin Powder[8] Copper Coal Italian word for "eight"
Representing word from the Olympic and Paralympic mottos Faster[6] Higher[6] Stronger[6] Mind, Body, Spirit[7]
Represented legend The sun was too close to the earth and was burning it. The hare ran to the top of a mountain, and shot her arrow into the sun. This caused it to drop lower in the sky, cooling the earth. The earth froze and turned dark, the coyote climbed to the highest mountaintop and stole a flame from the fire people. He returned and brought warmth and light to the people. Copper represents Higher from the Olympic motto. Indigenous people respected and revered bears. There were many mysteries surrounding bear hibernation and as a result, the animals were often viewed as symbols of immortality. Because bears are capable of standing on their hind legs, Native Americans sometimes referred to them as cousins. One popular legend is that a group of hunters who were never able to kill a mighty bear. Today the sons of these hunters still chase the bear across the night sky, as constellations. Native Americans revered otters as the most powerful of animals. The otter is a giver of great fortunes and a fast swimmer, though in some stories a bit of a show-off.[9][10]
Represented Time Morning Afternoon Night Midnight
Hometown Fishlake National Forest Glen Canyon National Recreation Area Wasatch Mountain State Park Flaming Gorge Reservoir
Cultural inspiration Snowshoe hare Coyote American black bear Sea otter
Non-sport hobbies Exploring Educating Protecting the environment Cooking
Personality Fun, exciteful Colorful, fearless, confident Powerful, courageous Friendly
Represented classical element Air Fire Earth Water
Represented race White Americans Hispanic and Latino Americans and Native Americans African Americans Asian Americans and Pacific Islands Americans
Season Winter Autumn Spring Summer
Cardinal direction North South East West
Colour Purple Yellow Red Red, Green and Blue
Pet peeve People being unsupported. Powder will react with by drooping her ears and using her feet to kick snow. People showing unsportsmanlike behavior. Copper will react by bunching up his ears and will howl extremely loud. Pollution. Coal will react by biting people. Pollution. Otto will react by calling anyone out who dares to pollute the environment by humiliating them.
Associated food Ice cream Jell-O French fries Fish
Favorite sport Skiing and Figure skating Ice hockey and Curling Speed skating Para-alpine skiing and Ice sledge hockey
Notes She is an elegant, sleek competitor with a flare for fun. Quick and elusive, Powder can ski and skate circles around her competition. Her large, furry feet make her especially agile on snow and ice, while her lean, supple body is built for endurance and speed. She is surprisingly strong and eager to jump and spin while twirling her ears above her head. When Powder really flies, her long, sleek ears stream out like ribbons from behind her whiskers. Try as they may, the other mascots just can’t catch their speedy little friend. Powder is joyful and delights in the spirit of competition. When she finishes second, she’s the first to congratulate the champion, and when she watches her friends compete, her ears perk up and she thumps her feet to show her support. Powder is passionate about the music and ceremony of the Games. To show her support for a performance, she’ll jump skyward, smiling in an expression of joy. He is a flashy, youthful athlete who revels in the spotlight. Colorful and fearless, Copper is a confident competitor. Whether in the halfpipe or on the ice, his flamboyant, bold style always pleases the crowd. Far from shy in front of a camera, this coyote's charisma makes him the media darling of the mascot trio. Copper is more than just snow. His long, slender legs are surprisingly powerful, giving him the strength to spin, flip and sprint. He is extremely Sport-savvy and has memorized the details of every discipline in the history of the Games. He cheers the loudest and reaches the highest peaks of all the mascots. A powerful and courageous racer, Coal is as passionate about Sport as he is about the environment. Coal is a force on both the slopes and the ice. His thick, muscular frame and short, sturdy legs give him a perfect build for either the racecourse or the speed skating oval. Surely no puck has ever slipped by this goalie's mitts. Coal is dedicated to more than just Sport. He is a tireless protector of his smaller mascot friends as well as the environment in which they live. He is an only pup and lives with his parents in the Wasatch Mountains. Otto loves to eat fish and sometimes uses tools to help him get to his meals. His best friends are children and Chris Waddell.[9][10]


  1. ^ Mike Gorrell (December 14, 1998). "S.L.'s Oly Mascots Get Ringing Endorsement". The Salt Lake Tribune.
  2. ^ a b Utah Travel Industry. "2002 Winter Olympics: Emblems and Mascots". Archived from the original on November 21, 2010. Retrieved November 4, 2010.
  3. ^ Salt Lake City 2002 Paralympic Mascot Otto - Photos & History|International Paralympic Committee
  4. ^ Jerry Spangler (May 13, 1999). "S.L. party to offer fun, Games". Deseret News. Retrieved October 31, 2010.
  5. ^ a b Jerry Spangler (September 26, 1999). "Mascots are Coal, Powder, Copper". Deseret News. Retrieved October 31, 2010.
  6. ^ a b c d Salt Lake Organizing Committee (2001). Reach: An Educators Guide to the Olympic Winter Games and Paralympic Winter Games of 2002 (PDF). pp. 15–17. Retrieved October 31, 2010.
  7. ^ a b Salt Lake Organizing Committee (2001). Reach: An Educators Guide to the Olympic Winter Games and Paralympic Winter Games of 2002 (PDF). pp. 74–77. Retrieved October 31, 2010.
  8. ^ Gerlach, Larry. "The Winter Mascots — From Games symbols to historical and cultural representations" (PDF).
  9. ^ a b 16 Playful Facts About Otters|Mental Floss
  10. ^ a b Sea Otter Symbol|Native Art
Preceded by
Olly, Syd and Millie
Olympic mascot
Powder, Copper and Coal

Salt Lake City 2002
Succeeded by
Athena and Phevos
Preceded by
Paralympic mascot

Salt Lake City 2002
Succeeded by