Thursday, June 21, 2012

A Series of Thoughts: Ravelypmics a threat to the Olympics??

For those of you muggles out there, Ravelympics is an event that coincides with the Olympics that is held withing the forums on, an online community of over 2 million knitters, crocheters, and spinners.  It's a silly event that encourages people to knit/spin/crochet while watching the Olympics.  I've participated the last couple times and it's fun.  It gives me a goal and a time frame to complete projects and I feel I actually watch the Olympics more because of it.
My last Ravelympics project ready for cast on!

Yesterday, Ravelympics blew up on twitter and the knitting blogsphere because the US Olympic Committee sent an email to Casey and Jess the creators, which was quite disturbing.  While they asked them to change the name of the event, which I'm all for since they have the rights to the Olympic name...their following comment struck a nerve.
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.

What are they trying to say?  That crafters around the world watching the games and knitting/spinning/crocheting along is disrespectful to the athletes?  Really? When I first heard about the letter, I was sort of just taken aback but wasn't surprised that the letter was sent...then I started reading about the letter on blogs and comments on twitter, so I had to go actually read the full thing, which was posted by Casey within ravelry forums(rav link).  You can also read full letter on the gawker site here.  Once I read this part, I was disturbed.  Not all 2 million people on Ravelry participate but a large chunk of them do.  Currently, in the Ravelympics 2012 group on there are 7562 members and I'm sure with the press it's getting that number will increase.  Why wouldn't you want to encourage almost 8 thousand people to all watch the opening ceremonies and the games?  I used to not worry about the opening ceremonies until I started participating in the ravelympics.  You can't cast on your project until the ceremonies start so I watched and cast on with thousands of others!

This morning I read a post by Kay on the Mason & Dixon blog and I immediately felt I needed to join her call!  She tweeted Stephen Colbert that if he did a piece on the "Knitters who are destroying the Olympics" that he would then receive a lifetime supply of hand knit socks!  I love her call to action and I'm all for knitting him a pair of socks if he does the piece!  As I've said before and will say again, you just don't mess with knitters because they are really taking over the world and are armed with pointy sticks! 

There have also been calls of action to boycott all Olympic sponsors.  While I don't know if I'll go that far, I am thinking this wasn't a good way to handle the issue by the lawyers for the Olympic Committee.  I hope that no one goes so far as to bother the actual US team about it as this isn't coming from them but let's get this out there because you can't say knitters are trying to destroy the Olympics and get away with it!

Happy Knitting!

EDITED: They issued an apology but this is seriously not a real response.  It says it was a standard letter...umm...just see comment above...that isn't standard! 

And ANOTHER apology this time on their Facebook wall!  They are getting closer...

What do you think of all this?  Are you bothered by their comment?  What do you plan to do to take action?


  1. Hi. Thank you for bringing this to my attention - I am not great with all the social media so hadn't picked it up yet. As you say I understand about the name - the Olympics commitees have always been very tight with the use of it but... I am astonished by the quote you gave from the letter. I feel that some of the officials are more disrespectful to the atheletes with the allogations of selling ticket allocations on the black market and all the money for votes thing that has been around. Knitters are not making money from it and just want to have fun together sharing their hobby and watching and supporting their country along the way. I have never paricipated before and am looking forward to it - I hope it will still go on. Best wishes

  2. Sigh. Why can't we all just get along? I would be willing to be that there are knitters, crocheters, and spinners who pay more attention to the Olympics because of Ravelry's event. However, I'm not up in arms about it... I'm watching, a bit bemused, much as I am observing the UVA mess.

  3. This just seems so weird... I can't imagine why they would have an issue with a event like this that actually encourages people to be interested in the Olympics!

  4. The Harlot has spoken, but I tend to have to agree with the rebuttee, Alex. We do put a lot of emphasis on sports and thus makes for a big money making machine which in the hands of the wrong people, this power becomes abused and they feel they can pick on others, especially a bunch of ... eh knitters. I am glad the people of Ravelry stood their ground and stood up to the big bully because that is basically what that was, aside from the branding/trademark issue (which they have the right to which truly it should have been just that and not taken far beyond what it was). I still don't see how Ravelympics was in any way shape or form "hurting them." If anything, it got more people to watch and root for their countries and its athletes, which probably made them more money via their sponsors anyways. So, I can't see possibly how they lose. After all, we just wanna have fun too!


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