US Olympic Committee target fibre crafters

For the past three Olympic iterations (2008 – Summer, 2010 – Winter, 2012 – Summer) members of the knitting and crochet website Ravelry have got together to celebrate the Olympics and challenge themselves along with the athletes in a variety of fibre craft events, tied together as the Ravelympics.

Here’s a blog post about the original Ravelympics in 2008 and this year the events include:

  • afghan marathon afghans, blankets
  • baby dressage baby items: anything baby
  • bag-n-tote backstroke bags, totes, containers
  • balance beads beaded items
  • cable steeplechase cables of all kinds
  • cast-on trap shoot cast on mania
  • charity rowing items for charity
  • colourwork crosscountry colourwork, fair-isle
  • cowl jump cowls, infinity scarves; things for neck joined in loop
  • double-knit boxing double knit technique
  • felted freestyle all things made then felted
  • frogging trampoline frogging projects
  • hand-dye high dive hand dyeing of yarn or fiber
  • handspun heptathlon spinning event: fleece/fiber to spun yarn
  • hat dash hats, all things head wear 
  • holiday hurdles gift knitting for 2012; holiday themed items
  • home stuff hammerthrow home accessories
  • lace longjump laceweight or finer yarns (For thread, Size 10 thread or finer); and lace patterns
  • mitten medley mittens, gloves, any hand/arm covers
  • modular relay modular techniques; creating modular bits /items to use later
  • rhythmic machinastics machine knitters event
  • scarf hockey all things scarves
  • shawl sailing shawls, wraps, stoles, ponchos
  • single skein sprint one skein projects
  • sock put socks
  • swatching coxswain making proper 4×4 swatches
  • sweater triathlon all sweaters, vest, cardigans, pullovers, shrugs, boleros
  • synchronized stash busting using only stash that’s 1+yrs old
  • toy toss toys, amigurumi
  • weaving vault weavers event
  • wips wrestling wips only

Members compete by choosing an event, starting a project page for it (including the special tags), and cast on to compete. The event starts during the opening ceremonies and projects must be completed by the closing ceremony. Many members compete in Teams, supporting each other and urging each other on in their chosen events.

It’s all a nice, friendly, community event which runs parallel to the official Olympic Games and demonstrates the three values of excellence, friendship, and respect which are the core of Olympism.

Following on from the official 2012 Olympic project of Woolsack being sidelined, the US Olympic Committee have written to Ravelry making the following demands:

  • Changing the name of the event
  • Removal of Olympic symbols in patterns, projects, photos, etc

The reasons given for these demands were:

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.

and

The patterns and projects featuring the Olympic Symbol on Ravelry.com’s website are not licensed and therefore unauthorized.  The USOC respectfully asks that all such patterns and projects be removed from your site.

See the full letter here (requires log in).

Note that this isn’t the IOC or the London Olympic Games Organising Committee making these demands, but rather the US Olympic Committee, whose mission statement is

To support U.S. Olympic and Paralympic athletes in achieving sustained competitive excellence and to preserve the Olympic Ideals, thereby inspiring all Americans.

Clearly an event that has inspired thousands of individuals of many nationalities to compete against each other in line with the values of Olympism, and has brought many people back to the Olympics and generated support for their athletes, should be stopped, and all trace of it removed.

Let the USOC know how you feel:

http://twitter.com/USOlympic

http://www.facebook.com/#/USOlympicTeam?ref=ts

http://www.teamusa.org/Footer/Contact-Us.aspx

Ravelry are seeking legal advice as to the demands made by the USOC, but already many people have stated that they will no longer be supporting the Olympics or the US athletes as a result of the USOC’s actions.