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.


The patterns and projects featuring the Olympic Symbol on’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:

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.


26 thoughts on “US Olympic Committee target fibre crafters

  1. Pingback: Olympic Committee goes after fiber artist and crafters…again! « Shespins.Com

  2. Robin

    I stopped following the Olympics after the 1996 games until my local knitting group organized a Opening Ceremony party. This year. IDK

  3. Pingback: The games that shall not be named | How are you? I am fine.

  4. KelleBelle

    Thank goodness I’m Canadian! FYI this was formerly just the “knitting olympics” started by the Yarn Harlot, aka Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, also a lovely Canadian.

  5. Pingback: US Olympic Committee vs knitters | Die wunderbare Welt von Isotopp

  6. Chris Zimmerman

    The only thing I watch the Olympics for is the opening and closing ceremonies. Wishing Raveley all the best in their endeavors of following this through!!!!!!

  7. Susan L Benton

    The US Olympics Committee does not own the “spirit” of the Olympics, which is what these projects are. I understand copyright laws, but the last time I looked, “spirit” was unable to be copyrighted.

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  9. mzjen

    “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.”

    This is not the right way to go about protesting the requests of the USOC, especially not supporting the athletes. They have worked for years to be able to compete in the Olympics.

    The symbol of the Olympics is copyrighted. Unless your projects are approved by the USOC, you should not be posting them or the written patterns on any website. Copyright is copyright. And I’m sure Stephanie Pearl-McPhee would agree with this statement.

  10. Betty SuchandSuch

    This is a sad day indeed.

    I learned how to knit at a young age, and then put it aside for awhile.

    With the advent of early knitting blogs – such as the Yarn Harlot – I picked it up again, and attended a few meet-ups. THEN – Wonders of All Wonders – as a lark, the 2006 Knitting Olympics were half joke/half serious mentioned, and then just took off. I’ve enjoyed every year it was offered. I learned more about the athletes and sports than I ever have learned before.

    I *really* felt as if I was part of a community – as a whole – a *knitting* community.

    US Olympic Committee – do you honestly believe that knitters knitting – while *watching and cheering* for athletes is some how destroying your brand? I’ll just say this – knitting along was the only reason I was watching current TV versions – and the Olympics have existed *for a long time* and you probably don’t own the rights to that existence.

    Careful what you wish for – you might get it.

  11. Colleen

    When it comes to the IOC they dont play. Among librarians in NC is the notorious case of a 3rd grade teacher who created a webpage of resources for her class to use in a project on the Olympics. It included a hotlink to the official Olympic website. Threatened with a lawsuit the teacher had to remove the hotlink and was told that her two attempts to get permission to hotlink constituted harassment. Excellence, friendship and respect?….yeah right.

  12. Olmon

    Tell them to urinate up a rope & suck the wet end. I can’t stand self-righteous jerks that think they have the right & duty to regulate everyone else’s activities & actions.

  13. Pingback: SpinDyeKnit

  14. Jane Smith

    I am a knitter living in South Africa. I have written a short email to the US Olympics people telling them I think that their attack on Ravelry is beneath contempt.

    Which it is.

  15. Pingback: Seriously US Olympic Committee! Are you really serious???? « Peacefully Knitting

  16. Barnacle Jones

    The USOC must have to much time on their hands. Why aren’t they targeting The Laugh Olympics or Scooby’s All-Star Laff-A-Lympics . . . also? American can take the fun outta anything.

  17. Elizabeth

    I haven’t seen anyone decide not to support the ATHLETES. Everyone seems to have their target correctly chosen : the USOC.

  18. Pingback: US Olympic Committee apologise to knitters | fak’s foughts

  19. janita

    Thank god i am Dutch, so sad, you can make a problem off everything. The Olympics are so exciting. I think it is stupid en pitiful, we are adults, be happy and enjoy the games with knitting.

  20. Pingback: US Olympic Committee apologises after demanding end to “disrespectful” knitting competition | Help Me Investigate the Olympics

  21. Valeria

    Ah, USOC is such a bunch of tools. In 95 in Atlanta during the run up to the 96 games, they tried to bully the Greek owners of the Olympic Diner (in business roughly 30 years then) and damn near drove them out of business.

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  23. Grete

    I have been a keen and active Ravelry member since 2007 and hope that Ravelry will exist forever.
    USOC believe that “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.”

    USOC is disrespectfull and they do not recognice knitting as a respectable art or handicraft. Ravelry is international and knitters all over the world are joining to work together and compete in the knitting art. To knit is often a hard work, and it takes lifelong time to learn all the knitting techniques. IOC has copyrighted the Olympic rings. In Norway, Lillehammer 1994, they tried to stop one of our most loved authors, Kjell Aukrust, because he had drawed the rings on a Norwegian sweater. Even if Aukrust was dead some years before, Maybe they meant his books should be burned?
    How old are the Olympic rings, and when were they copyrighted?
    Next Olympic year I will be 71 years old. Then I will join thpe Paralymoics too!

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