Shantel Shave

February 23, 2010 12:29 ET

"Mukmuk for Mascot" Rally to Be Held February 23, 2010 at Countdown Clock

Vancouverites band together to support Olympic sidekick

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Feb. 23, 2010) - A group calling itself the "MukMuk Mascoteers" today announced that a rally and march have been organized for Tuesday, Feb. 23, to politely request full mascot status for MukMuk, the official Olympic sidekick. The event is scheduled to begin at 12:30PM in front of the Olympic countdown clock at Hornby and Georgia, where supporters will gather under a banner by local artist Jason Athen before marching around the Art Gallery to raise awareness for their cause.

Described on the Vancouver 2010 website as, "a small and friendly Vancouver Island marmot who always supports and cheers loudly for his friends during games and races", MukMuk's responsibilities also include fetching them cocoa, doing their recycling and driving the Zamboni.

Support for the sidekick has been building for years, coming to widescale awareness following Jeff Lee's article, "Free MukMuk: the 'other' Olympic mascot" in the Vancouver Sun in 2008. Wrote Lee, "Pity MukMuk. While his friends Quatchi, Miga and Sumi gallivant off everywhere entertaining children in the lead up to the 2010 Olympic Games, MukMuk the marmot is left to pick up the trash and tag along behind. For those of you who don't know poor MukMuk, he's the virtual reality sidekick to the Vancouver 2010 mascots. He lives mainly in cyberspace. Well, cyber jail, really, because he doesn't get out much."

Explains rally attendee Karen Gray, "Poor MukMuk has spent the Games trapped in a digital no-man's land. While the mascots regularly attend events, MukMuk has been left behind, waving out from a computer screen with his "We're Number One!" mitt. Well, we want him to know we think he's number one too."

Uniquely Canadian, MukMuk is a Vancouver Island marmot: one of 14 marmot species worldwide and one of the most critically endangered mammals in the world. He's also the only real animal of the lot, with Quatchi, Miga and Sumi representing elements of local legend and First Nation culture.

Approximately 40 people are expected to attend the event. Said organizer Shantel Shave, "This is a support rally, not a protest. We are passionately pro-Olympics, pro-MukMuk and pro-marmot. It's a fantastic time to be Canadian, and this is our way of contributing to the fun and positive energy that the Winter Games have brought to our beautiful city. Go MukMuk! Go Canada!"

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