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CNN Today

Sydney Olympics: Three Times the Mascots

Aired September 4, 2000 - 2:54 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: History quiz for you: What was the mascot for the Atlanta Olympics back in '96? Exactly -- that forgettable blue, Smurf-looking thing called Izzy. Now the folks in Sydney are out with not one, but three mascots.

And CNN's John Raedler does the introductions.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOHN RAEDLER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Meet Syd the platypus, one of the Sydney Olympics three mascots. The others are Millie the echidna and Olly the kookaburra: Australian animals from water, land and air.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Syd is for Sydney, Millie is for millennium, and Olly is for Olympics.

RAEDLER: Others are not so knowledgeable about the mascots.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One's an emu, isn't it?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. It's a roo.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One's a kangaroo?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Platypus.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Platypus. Yeah, platypus.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I know the animals, but I don't know the name.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't know the name.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yellow one?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The yellow one and the red one?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And the white one.

RAEDLER: The platypus is an egg-laying mammal that breathes air but spends a lot of time under water, with its eyes closed, foraging for food with its super-sensitive bill. (on camera): The platypus is such an odd creature that when European explorers first sent specimens of it back to Europe, scientists there thought the explorers were playing a practical joke on them.

(voice-over): The echidna, also known as a spiny anteater, is another egg-laying mammal. It's unrelated to the porcupine, but like that animal, it has evolved to protect itself by growing spikes, as it demonstrated while a zoo keeper was showing it to us.

RAEDLER (on camera): How would you assess the success of the -- of the spike strategy?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ow! Ow! At the moment, really successful. Ow!

RAEDLER (voice-over): And then there's the kookaburra, perhaps the most beloved bird in Australia because of its laugh.

RAEDLER (on camera): Do you know what a kookaburra is?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

RAEDLER: What is it?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's a bird.

RAEDLER: And what sound does it make?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A kooky sound.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. Come on, make a kooky sound.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Coo. Coo. Coo. Coo.

RAEDLER (voice-over): Despite confusion over the multiple mascots, Syd the platypus, Millie the echidna and Olly the kookaburra have contributed to the sale of a quarter-of-a-billion U.S. dollars worth of Olympics' merchandise so far.

John Raedler, CNN, Sydney.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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