This infographic by Marie Elwood takes a look back at all the Olympic mascots since 1968, plus some fun facts about each host country. For the last nine Summer and Winter Games, there have been pairs or groups of Olympic mascots. Considering that the games are all about community rather than individualism, this shift seems to make sense.
The characters range from imaginary creatures to charming animals that usually hold quite a bit of symbolism for the country. Beijing's 'Fuwa' mascots in 2008 were representative of each Olympic ring and the phrase "Beijing welcomes you."
The mascots representing this year's Winter Games at Sochi are Bely Mischka and Zaika, two snowy animals that were determined for the first time ever by a public vote.