Thursday, 21 June 2012


Oh Muse, inspire me with the tongue of a Rick Mercer, that I may expose the senders of that letter to the weal of common sense and the salt of humor…

Well, who am I kidding – I don’t have the tongue of a satirist, but oh, don’t I wish I did.

There’s a great commotion on Ravelry, and spreading on the interwebz. It seems the US Olympic Committee has sent a cease and desist order informing us that we have to rename the Ravelympics, and remove from the site any Olympic-associated patterns or projects. It is, according to them, diluting their brand, and denigrating the athletes, among other things, and the phrasing was not exactly lawyerly-dispassionate. Insulting, really. Signed by someone who isn’t even a lawyer yet, as it took people only a short time to find out.

Really? With the big day coming up in a very few weeks, you have nothing better to do? Do you really feel that people will mistake the Ravelympics for the real thing? Or that somehow, a group of fiber types getting together to have fun, challenge themselves, and exchange ideas is a threat to your identity or your corporate sponsorship, or the spirit of the games?

In point of fact, I don’t see that they’d gain more than a hollow victory, if anything. Bad, bad publicity for them. Casey posted the letter yesterday afternoon to let us know what was up, and said he’d passed it on to their lawyer. By this morning, when I logged on, I found posts noting that the USOC e-mail was bouncing letters, that the FB account of the guy who signed the letter had been closed to new comments, that Ravelympics had apparently turned into one of the hot tags on Twitter, and that Stephen Colbert had been informed of the debacle. Not to mention the people who have announced their intention to skip watching the games, or watching the games from a US carrier, writing to Congress or various Olympic committees, writing to the sponsors or boycotting the sponsors. And who will be passing their indignation on to family and friends. Stir a hornet’s nest and don’t be surprised if you raise a cloud of hornets, eh?

But for all that, it’s rather sad that the people involved in running the Games seem to have so little of the spirit in which they were founded, and it leaves a bad taste in one’s mouth. This year there’s already been the Wool-sack thing, where the committee made a last minute decision to take away a space that had been intended for distribution of handknit pillows that were to be gifts for the athletes, giving the space to a paying sponsor. It was on the BBC news and everything. Now the athletes have to get in touch with the people doing the pillows and personally request one, I think. And one of the other women on Rav noted that apparently a few years ago, USOC was trying to get a bunch of businesses in Greece, including a yogurt co-op, to change their names, because they had the word Olympic in their names in Greek.

Is it just me, or does the whole thing come off like that kid in the schoolyard, who won’t share toys, and wants to order everyone else around, and then gets insulted and can’t understand why no-one wants to play with him?  


  1. It certainly isn't doing much to dispel the international impression of the US as playground bullies.

  2. I was stunned by their stupidity last night. They see the use of the word Olympics (or in this case "ympics" for heavens sake) and the blindly try to ban it without think about whether it's a positive thing for the games or not. Ravelympics encourages people to watch the Olympics and get more involved in it - why try to lessen that connection?