Proof of the Russian sense of humor: Zoich - quite possibly the most awesome Olympic mascot ever.
Zoich (Cyrillic: ZOIЧ, pronounced [zo.itɕ]) was a proposed mascot for the XXII Winter Olympics, which took first place in the official online poll to select a mascot for the 2014 Sochi games. Despite being a popular Internet character, the committee chose not to introduce it to the final round of the voting. Upon introduction and until the end of the online voting, it was the most popular mascot from those submitted. It also took only about 40 minutes for Zoich to take the top spot.
Zoich is also a spectacular example of guerilla marketing on a global level. In fact, the background story is so astonishing and far-fetched, that even most Russian journalists could not believe it when it was finally revealed around first half of June 2011. Only the statement from the president of Sochi 2014 Olympic and Paralympic Organizing Committee finally convinced journalists that the conspiracy story was in fact legitimate.
The rights to the Zoich mascot are owned by the Russian Olympic Committee.