US Olympic Committee Steps in Yarn Barf

Blogged under Around the Web by Tammy on Friday 22 June 2012 at 10:10 am


This has gone viral all over the web, so as a yarn lover, I felt compelled to post about it. For those not already in the know, the nutshell version of the story is that the US Olympic Committee has sent a nasty note to the owners of Ravelry.com in reference to Ravelympics, a virtual event held during the Olympics where members of Ravelry team up and have Olympic style yarn-related competitions. For example, I am part of team MinKnit, and our team has pledged to knit while we watch the games. I picked a fairly easy team to join because I just want to relax while watching the games, and I’m not much into competition. However, there are all kinds of other teams to join where groups pledge to do things like make an entire sweater starting when the games open and stopping when they close. Basically, there it is a fun way to challenge yourself yarn-wise and enjoy watching the Olympics.

However….now the USOC has gotten wind of all the fun and have decided to put a kabash on much of it by demanding that the name Ravelympics is changed because it infringes on its copyright to the word Olympics. The USOC has also demanded that any patterns or other related items that have an image of the rings or use of the word Olympics be removed from the site.

Granted, it does own the word, and so the committee does have the right to request some of its demands, but what really got everyone’s yarn in a knot was how the request was worded. Here is one biting comment included in the letter: “We believe using the name “Ravelympics” for a competition that involves an afghan marathon, scarf hockey and sweater triathlon, among others, tends to denigrate the true nature of the Olympic Games. In a sense, it is disrespectful to our country’s finest athletes and fails to recognize or appreciate their hard work.”

Yes, of course being a yarn person is not the same as being an athlete, but really, did they have to go there? Was it really necessary to be this rude and condescending?

Oh, and it gets better. After the yarn community had a cow about this, tweeting like crazy and posting on Facebook, apologizes from the USOC were offered. So, you would think, okay, all is settled and everyone shakes hands. Of course not! Instead, the apology includes this statement: “We apologize for any insult and appreciate your support. We embrace hand-crafted American goods as we currently have the Annin Flagmakers of New Jersey stitching a custom-made American flag to accompany our team to the Olympic Games in London. To show our support of the Ravelry community, we would welcome any handmade items that you would like to create to travel with, and motivate, our team at the 2012 Games.”

Come on people! Seriously? You think knitters/crocheters are going to make stuff for you? Someone needs to tell the committee’s spokesman (Patrick Sandusky) to shut up already! The apologies are worse than the snarky comments from the nasty letter!

For more info on this craziness, here are some links: NPR.org, TeamUSA, Gawker, The Atlantic, Yahoo.

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