Hoping to mimic the success of Vancouver’s beloved red mittens, the British Olympic Association has unveiled what it hopes will be the “iconic memento” of the London Games: a scarf. The cotton scarves were inspired by the runaway success of the more than four million pairs of red mittens sold during the Vancouver Winter Games, which raised more than $14 million for Canada’s Own the Podium project.
Across the pond, reaction to the scarf, which bears “more than a passing resemblance to a tea towel,” noted the Telegraph, has been less than warm and fuzzy. “Scarves? Are we expecting a cold snap in August?” huffed one Twitter user. Seeing the wacky ways Brit athletes wore them at last week’s launch seemed “like a particularly strange dream,” snorted the Guardian. Swimmer Jenna Randall got creative with a Minnie Mouse headband, while BMX racer Shanaze Reade opted for an off-the-shoulder pashmina. Lee Pearson, a nine-time Paralympic dressage star, rocked a Boy Scouts-inspired neckerchief and tied a matching scarf around his crutch. Time will tell whether the Olympic cravat becomes synonymous with Britain’s Games, and a groundswell of patriotic support for its athletes. At first glance, that seems unlikely.