This page is about the Olympic mascot. For the anime/manga character see Misha (Pita-ten), for the Ar tonelico: Melody of Elemia character see Misha Arsellec Lune, for river in Tatarstan see Myosha River, for the hoax Holocaust memoir, see Misha: A Mémoire of the Holocaust Years.

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

Misha is the first mascot of a sporting event to achieve large-scale commercial success as merchandise. The Misha doll was used extensively during the opening and closing ceremonies, had a TV animated cartoon and appeared on several merchandise products, now things commonly practiced not only in the Olympic Games, 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.

Origins of the name Misha

In Russian Misha is a diminutive for the Russian male name Mikhail. Misha, Mishka, Mikhail, Mikhail Potapych (means Michael son of Potap), Mikhail Potapych Toptigyn (or just Toptigyn) are traditional Russian nicknames for a bear (and the bear historically symbolises Russia, and also symbolised the Soviet Union).


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.

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