The 2011 World Aquatics Competition is set to take place in Shanghai from July 16 to 31. The athletes here in Japan are training hard and things are starting to heat up as the competition gets closer.

Like any other event in East Asia, China has created a mascot character to represent the event. However, the character design is so awful that it only serves to take away from the excitement surrounding the event.

The character’s name is Jing Jing. As you can see, it is an anthropomorphic pair of swimming goggles. The name Jing Jing is taken from the Chinese character for crystal (晶) which was chosen to represent the water’s glistening surface.

Furthermore, ‘jing’ is also the Chinese word for ‘gold’—as in gold medal—and sounds similar to the character for ‘progress’ or ‘move forward.’ In short, the name was chosen to embody the spirit of the athletes boldly pushing themselves forward for the gold.

Given the semantics of this name, one would think that the character would have also been designed to represent this passionate vision. Instead, this year’s contestants will compete for title of greatest swimmer in the world under the watchful eyes of goofy goggles.

A poster of Jing Jing demonstrating each of the five events can be found on the website, but if it weren’t for the captions we’d have a difficult time understanding what exactly is going on in the pictures.

According the official website, Jing Jing’s charm can be found in its “round eyes with big hands and feet.” Wait, doesn’t that describe all of Jing Jing? If China truly wants to compete on the modern stage, it must first learn how to create presentable mascot characters like the rest of us.

Source: 世界水泳選手権上海2011

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