The Olympic Committee of Israel has finally found a mascot for the 2012 Olympic team, announcing yesterday that the Bamba baby would be accompanying the athletes to London in July. Osem, the maker of Bamba, the popular peanut-based snack, will be paying the committee an undisclosed sum for the privilege of representing the team.
Last year, the committee had asked the public to choose the team mascot, and suggested five "candidates" for the honor. The public picked Shpitzik the prickly pear, and the committee introduced its new mascot to the public in December. But Educational Television sued, claiming Shpitzik resembled Kishkashta, its prickly pear presenter and star of its popular "Mah Pitom" program. The Tel Aviv District Court agreed, and ordered the Olympic committee to stop using Shpitzik's image and to pay Educational Television NIS 50,000.
A committee official rebuffed criticism of the new decision's commercial nature, saying "Osem sells 12 million bags of Bamba every month. It's amazing exposure for the team."
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