His first thought upon seeing Wenlock and the Paralympic Games counterpart, Mandeville?
"My first reaction was, ‘Oh those are cool,' " Ryan said. But as the day went on, he realized other than recalling their one-eyed stare, he probably couldn't draw them from memory. "They are somewhat nondescript, but that lends itself to something that kids can put their imprint on," Ryan said, looking on the bright side.
As for the mascots he has liked, there was Cobi, the cubist Catalan sheepdog from Barcelona in 1992, who caused creator Javier Mariscal major tribulations. He also liked Miga and Quatchi, a mythical sea bear and a sasquatch, respectively, out of Vancouver this year. And then there was Magique, the man/star snow imp from the 1992 Winter Games in Albertville, France.
Does Ryan feel redeemed for Izzy, who left him with more than a few "this didn’t go exactly as anybody thought this was supposed to" moments? Maybe ... not.
Ryan, who has maintained a successful career in animation, has never put "Izzy creator" on his resume. "People figure it out," he said. "It’s not that I am not proud of it, but it’s just that it is its own thing."
Another bad creation: Olympic mascots that fared badly
2012 -- London, Wenlock and Mandeville. Two characters designed to look like drops of steel from the Olympic stadium were called "creepy."
1996 -- Atlanta, Izzy. The character's name was derived from kids asking "What is it?" The question was never really answered.
1992 -- Barcelona, Cobi. Creator Javier Mariscal reportedly objected to the sheepdog mascot being translated into a three-dimensional character.
The ones that did better
1972 -- Munich, Waldi. The dachshund was considered quite lovable.
1980 -- Moscow, Misha. The bear from children's book illustrator Victor Chizhikov proved popular.
1984 -- Los Angeles, Sam the Eagle. The Walt Disney Co.-designed mascot was all dressed up like Uncle Sam.