Misha also known as Mishka  or The Olympic Mishka  is the name of the Russian Bear mascot of the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games (the XXII Summer Olympics). He was designed by children’s books illustrator Victor Chizhikov.

SovietEraMuseum present exclusive photos about different Mishkas.

Misha is the first mascot of a sporting event to achieve large-scale commercial success in merchandise. The Misha doll was used extensively during the opening and closing ceremonies, appeared on several merchandise products and had both an animated short film (animated by Soyuzmultfilm) and a television series (animated by Nippon Animation), all of which are now common practice not only in the Olympic Games, but also in the FIFA World Cup and others events’ mascots.

Misha also appeared in the 1980 Olympics episode of the Russian cartoon Nu, pogodi!, handing trophies to the Wolf and the Hare.

In 1977, the committee organizing the Olympics held a contest for the best illustration of a bear. The judges chose Victor Chizhikov’s design depicting a smiling bear cub wearing a blue-black-yellow-green-red (colors of the Olympic rings) belt, with a golden buckle shaped like the five rings. Misha was confirmed as an official mascot on December 19th, 1977.

During the closing ceremony of the 1980 Olympic Games, Misha the bear appeared with a tear in its eye. He was holding a couple of balloons and at the end he was released and flew away from the stadium. He disappeared. A few hours later he landed on Vorobyovy Gory and later was exhibited at the Exhibition Centre for some time.

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