If you knit, crochet, spin yarn, weave, or other type of fiber fanatic, you know all about Ravelry. As I have blogged in the past, Ravelry is a wonderful online community where you can meet others who share a love of fiber and chat, find patterns, and share opinions about yarn and all things fiber. It is truly a wonderful place for those of us who are misunderstood by “non-yarnies.”
Since Ravelry’s start, something special happens when the Olympics comes around – Ravelympics! Containing lots of fiber fun, the Ravelympics has great events such as Scarf Hockey. It is a great way to finish projects, share the results, and root for our country during the Olympics.
Well, the United States Olympic Committee has decided to pick a fight with Ravelry over the Ravelympics. Adrian Chen reported that Ravelry was served a cease-and-desist letter by care of the USOC. I read the entire letter and I have to tell you it is quite possibly the most ridiculous thing I have ever read, which includes:
“The athletes of Team USA have usually spent the better part of their entire lives training for the opportunity to compete at the Olympic Games and represent their country in a sport that means everything to them. For many, the Olympics represent the pinnacle of their sporting career. Over more than a century, the Olympic Games have brought athletes around the world together to compete at the Olympic Games and represent their country in a sport that means everything to them.”
“The USOC is responsible for preserving the Olympic Movement and its ideals within the United States. Part of that responsibility is to ensure that Olympic trademarks, imagery and terminology are protected and given the appropriate respect. 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.”
Well, USOC, cry me a river. First of all, we do not participate in the Ravelympics to denigrate the Olympics or those who participate. And your glib commentary actually denigrates those of us who have spent years perfecting what we do.
Fiber fans everywhere have inundated the USOC’s web page, email servers, and Facebook page with their opinions on this subject. So much so that they have published what should be called “the non-apology apology.”
“Thanks to all of you who have posted, tweeted, emailed and called regarding the letter sent to the organizers of the Ravelympics.
“Like you, we are extremely passionate about what we do. …
“The letter sent to the organizers of the Ravelympics was a standard-form cease and desist letter that explained why we need to protect our trademarks in legal terms. Rest assured, as an organization that has many passionate knitters, we never intended to make this a personal attack on the knitting community or to suggest that knitters are not supportive of Team USA.
“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.”
Not sure if I will be sending anything along with Team USA, but I think the USOC learning a valuable lesson – don’t mess with fiber fanatics.