Meet Your New Mascot

VARSITY is always a blistering, bruising encounter and consequently both teams will be preparing intensely. However, no one is preparing with quite the same level of passion and commitment as the new Leeds University mascot – the name of which will be decided by students. The Gryphon were fortunate enough to steal a few precious seconds of our namesakes’ time and landed an exclusive interview; getting the answers everyone has been dying to hear.

Being a part of such a prestigious sporting University, you must have to stay in shape. How do you train for an event such as Varsity?

I have a very strict diet at competition time, eating strictly Beckett Bears. I have exceptional speed so I do a lot of plyometric and strength training. The strength and conditioning team have really brought me along recently and taught me ‘steaks not shakes’. I am just so excited to make my debut at this year’s Varsity. I am also partial to a bit of dancing, can’t keep me off that Fruity dance floor!

What is an average day in the life for a University Mascot?

I really struggled at the beginning as I stood out and looked different but since joining the University I really feel like I fit in at last. Working with the students is my favourite part of the job, from coaches to volunteers to spectators. I love Wednesday afternoons, cheering on our athletes to sporting success. No day is the same for me, which is exactly how I like it.

Our new mascot is settling into life at Leeds Photo: The Gryphon
Our new Gryphon mascot can’t wait to make his debut at this year’s Varsity…       Photo: The Gryphon

Did you always know that your calling in life was to be a University of Leeds Mascot?

I didn’t, I was just in the right place at the right time. I was spotted by the University of Leeds after showing off my strength and courage skills at a recent all-star mascot croquet tournament. They felt I would be perfect for the job as I emulated the attributes that our students have. I have always enjoyed being athletic and I suppose the reason I have captained many teams is because of my strong leadership skills. It has always come naturally to me. Previous work has not been very steady; I faced redundancy recently from Hollywood after being a main extra in the Harry Potter films.

...although the poor guy is embarrassed about having no name Photo: The Gryphon
…although the poor guy is a little embarrassed about not having a name yet         Photo: The Gryphon

What advice would you give to any aspiring young mascots out there?

Keep trim and keep your options open. Even if you don’t think ‘mascotting’ is for you it is a great career option for diverse individuals. Live the dream.

How do you think you’re going to contribute to the thriving sporting community of University of Leeds?

Winning the dance-off at this year’s Varsity by bringing the magic to Leeds.

James Candler 


Featured photo: The Gryphon

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