|Olympic bobsledders Chris Fogt, Steven Holcomb, Steve Langton,
Justin Olsen and Curt Tomasevicz having photobooth fun.
|Bobsledder Steve Langton and figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi
raise their hands for Team USA
What better place to drum up attention for a pair of fuzzy blue mittens than in chilly Park City? It is here where the U.S. Olympic Committee is hosting its semiannual Team USA Media Summit and where I first learned about the debut of the cute collectable sure to be the Sochi Winter Games’ hottest item. The “Go USA” mittens give fans a way to show their support for Team USA on their road to Russia and are for sale now at TeamUSA.org/RaiseYourHands.
At the Media Summit they were pretty hard to ignore. Upon entering the host hotel, sticker replicas of the mittens were plastered everywhere: from the front door, to the floor, to the elevator walls. But it was the athletes who were lucky enough to be gifted the real deal. Initially I think they were just sporting the patriotic garb in an effort to keep warm — as I am pretty sure the hotel kept the thermostat at a number meant to prepare them for the chilly temps in Sochi — but it wasn’t long before the accessory turned into a competition. Because doesn’t everything when you gather a bunch of professional athletes together?
The Team USA athletes took turns in the green room photo booth seeing who could outdo the other by sporting the craziest accessory. It started with the American flag, which got topped by the torch from Torino, which got topped by the mittens, which ultimately lost out to a pair of ski poles the bobsledders took into the booth with them.
Outside the booth, 2010 Olympic bobsled champion Curt Tomasevicz and 1992 Olympic figure skating champ Kristi Yamaguchi — both of whom were wearing the gloves — filmed a funny spot spoofing the skit Jimmy Fallon did with Justin Timberlake over the abuse of hashtags. “Hashtag ‘Raise Your Hands,’” said Yamaguchi making the gesture for hashtags with her hands. “Hashtag ‘Team USA,’” said Tomasevicz copying her gesture. “Hashtag ‘Go USA,’” said Yamaguchi. And on it went.
After the hilarious exchange was over, I asked the famous figure skater what she thought about the mittens. “I think everyone is looking for a way to support the team and to have fun with it. And what better way to show your support than by having Go USA on your mittens?” she said. “And knowing that the proceeds go to help Team USA, I think it’s a great way for people to get involved and feel like they’re making a difference.”
But she admits she got a little too involved when it came to a similar hot item from the Vancouver Games. “Everyone back home wanted those red Canada mittens and I made a couple trips to the Olympic Superstore battling the lines and crowds just to get those mittens. This time I’m going to be like, ‘Guys, you have to get the Team USA mittens.’”
Bottom line: keep your mitts off her mittens!