Aei! The Olympic Mascots Are Back! Run For Your Lives!

Like childhood night terrors or the career of George Michael, we thought that we were done with The Five Friendlies for good; or at least until the 2008 Olympics. But no dice. China trotted out their satanic mascot goblins once again on Sunday while announcing the China Bowl, an NFL exhibition set for 2007 between the Patriots and Seahawks. But who exactly are The Friendlies? From the official Beijing Olympics site:

Each of the Five Friendlies has a rhyming two-syllable name — a traditional way of expressing affection for children in China. Beibei is the Fish, Jingjing is the Panda, Huanhuan is the Olympic Flame, Yingying is the Tibetan Antelope and Nini is the Swallow.

Sadly, Yingying was imprisoned briefly for distributing pamphlets on the Chinese government's systematic suppression of Tibetean culture. But he has be re-educated, and all is fine. We had some other notions on Beijing mascots which didn't make the cut (welcome Googoo, the Internet censorship Ox), but fortunately the blog Wanbro has a better take on it than we do. So, enjoy.

Five Friendlies Unveiled [Wanbro]
The Official Mascots Of The 2008 Beijing Olympic Games [2008 Beijing Olympics]
Oh, Sleep Well. We DARE You [Deadspin]