Ravelry vs. Olympics

July 6, 2012 § 2 Comments

This may be old news, but for those of you who aren’t aware of what’s going on, it’s worth catching up!

A couple of weeks ago the Olympic Committee picked the wrong group of people to mess with… Knitters and crocheters.

The below article ran in Stylist Home…


Call it extreme trademark protection.

For decades, McDonald’s waged a legal battle against a family restaurant in Illinois called McDonald’s Family Restaurant (which was opened by a man named Ronald McDonald in 1956). Ralph Lauren sued Polo magazine, which covers the actual sport, just to protect his high-end casual line of clothing.

Now, the U.S. Olympics Committee is targeting a knitting-based group that hosts a knitting olympics, reports Gawker. The committee, which helps protect the Olympics trademark, recent sent a cease-and-desist letter to Ravelry, a knitting social network that puts on a competition called “Ravelympics” featuring events such as an “afghan marathon” and “scarf hockey” which knitters perform while watching the actual Olympics on TV.

According to 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.

The committee has successfully pursued legal action against other “olympics”, including the “Gay Olympics” in 1982.

But the USOC may end up regretting their assault – after all, these knitters are armed with needles and now they’re angry. A group calling itself the Crochet Liberation Front is bombarding the committee with its own outraged protest letter:

You have inferred that we are disrespecting the athletes and fail to recognize their hard work, well you sir, fail to understand how you have insulted more than 17.4 million US households that crochet, not to mention the millions of knitters, hand spinners, weavers and other fiber artists that are striving to keep dying arts alive in their communities.


So we ask you now, dear readers… What’s your stand on this issue?


§ 2 Responses to Ravelry vs. Olympics

  • LOL I hardly bombarded them with protest letters. I wrote a single open letter on my blog speaking to the issue of “denigration” and “disrespect.” Plus, the Stylist needs to do a wee bit of fact checking. The “group” Crochet Liberation Front doesn’t CALL itself that, it’s my registered trade name for my website/business. It started as a joke. I realize it made for good copy, but really, I wrote the letter, I signed it even. I never speak FOR the people who join the CLF, they are quite capable of speaking for themselves.

    Just making it clear. Really the New York Times article was far more balanced in its approach to the matter.

    That being said, none of the articles hit on the important points of the letter I wrote to the USOC. Those being, it’s time that “traditional feminine handcrafts” not be seen in terms of insignificance.

  • jafagirls says:

    I awarded the USOC a knitted poo for their poopy atttitude.

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