Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Seriously, Olympic Commitee...

Okay, friends, buckle up.  If you haven't seen this controversy, you won't believe it when you do.  Ready?

Ravelry pattern and pic
The US Olympic Committee is asking to "cease and desist" the Ravelympics.  It hit the fan today.  (See the short version on Gawker here.)  The Ravelympics involve knitting enthusiasts knitting particular challenges while watching the Olympics.  Yup.  Knitting.  In front of the TV.  It's a big problem to the USOC.  Okay, not the knitting per se - associating the Olympics with the knitting.  To paraphrase a very long legal note, it "demeans" the efforts and nobility of the Olympic athlete's efforts.

I don't get it either.  The USOC sent a lengthy set of "demands" (my word, not theirs) to the dear sweet folks at Ravelry, the 4 volunteer types who support an international knitting community of millions (yep, with an "M") with a website that serves as the international knitting water cooler.  Millions of pattern notes, yarn specs, patterns in whole, words of encouragement, yarn exchanges, needle and hook exchanges, etc., take place on Ravelry every day.  Of these, a remote fraction are involved in the Ravelympics.  Fewer than 30 interactions per day. 

Ravelry pattern and pic
I should make it known that some time ago I was an employee of the USOC. Though I love and support the Olympic movement, I can say unequivically, these dudes are without humor.  So much of the work of the IOC and USOC revolves around keeping things fair, and the incessant focus on rules sometimes makes the athletic nerds myopic.  The larger view is somewhat foggy to the rules people.

The enthusiasm of knitters involved in the Ravelympics is no threat to the general understanding of what the Olympics stand for.  Sale-a-thons and Dance-a-thons will never confuse the public with the 26.2 mile foot race.  Nanny-gate and Watergate will never both be considered to be Woodward and Bernstein's landmark achievement.  And a dude in a Manning jersey throwing a football in the parking lot of a stadum will never be a threat to the talent or effort of either Manning brother.

Toungue-in-cheek tributes are a huge part of the American experience.  This is why you can be married by Elvis in Las Vegas, and why you will always be able to buy your child superhero undies.  T-shirts with great abs and Halloween masks of Nixon are silly, and yet to my knowledge, neither the buff guys at the beach nor Nixon have ever sued.

BTW, the USOC would like to request the various designers and publishers of Olympics tribute patterns remove any reference to the Olympics and/or any depiction of the Olympic rings from the patterns.  ALL of them.  I assume this does not bar NEW Olympic tribute patterns.  Hint hint.

I am completely unaware of any push on the part of the OC of the UK to stop the enthusiastic knitting of Olympic athlete tributes.  In fact, you can buy a book of patterns to knit Olympic athletes in a variety of European outlets.  It's called "Olympknits".  Why is it that the USOC has no understanding of the difference between support and a threat?  I don't know.  Ask them.  719-632-5551.


Anonymous said...

Weavers and crocheters are part of the 2 million + members of Ravelry and are equally outraged at the demands of the USOC.

Anonymous said...

One wonders if the #StitchThis hashtag would be appropriate :)