Tag Archive: US OLympic Committee

Jun 24 2012

Knitters 1; USOC 0

The US Olympic Committee learned this week that you should never insult 2 million people from around the world who have very sharp objects in their hands. As was reported here, the US Olympic Committee sent an insulting cease and desist letter to Ravelry, a knitting-based social network for hosting a knitting “olympics” called “Ravelympics.” Needless to say the worldwide protests came in faster than you can knit one, purl one. The USOC seeing the error in their thinking issued an apology to the knitters. The initial apology from Patrick Sandusky, USOC Chief Communications and Public Affairs Officer, was somewhat unapologetic, excusing the letter, as their “standard form”

“Thanks to all of you who have posted, tweeted, emailed and called regarding the letter sent to the organizers of the Ravelympics.

Like you, we are extremely passionate about what we do. And, as  you may know, the United States Olympic Committee is a non-profit entity, and our Olympic team receives no government funding. We are totally dependent on our sponsors, who pay for the right to associate with the Olympic Movement, as well as our generous donors to bring Team USA to the Games.

The letter sent to the organizers of the Ravelympics was a standard-form cease and desist letter that explained why we need to protect our trademarks in legal terms. Rest assured, as an organization that has many passionate knitters, we never intended to make this a personal attack on the knitting community or to suggest that knitters are not supportive of Team USA.

We apologize for any insult and appreciate your support. We embrace hand-crafted American goods as we currently have the Annin Flagmakers of New Jersey stitching a custom-made American flag to accompany our team to the Olympic Games in London. To show our support of the Ravelry community, we would welcome any handmade items that you would like to create to travel with, and motivate, our team at the 2012 Games.”

Many of the knitters felt that this was a rather halfhearted and continued to express their annoyance, leaving messages like this on the USOC Facebook page:

“Patrick Sandusky, your apology falls well short of any real acknowledgement of any wrong doing on your part. Your clerk’s language was insulting and inflammatory, and not any part of any cease and desist or form letter I have ever seen. T…o follow it up saying “while you’re knitting, send us some of those things we didn’t want you knitting in support of us in the first place” is just adding fuel to the fire. Do yourself a favour the next time you try to protect the Olympic brand and the interest of your sponsors – do a little bit of research about the efforts you are trying to quash before sending threatening letters. If you had, you’d find that you just stopped the US members of a MASSIVE group of people from watching NBC and all of the sponsors’ ads because of your lack of judgement and your poor representation of the Olympic brand. Sincerely, Lisa Roman, Ravelry member since 2008″

I think the lady is quite miffed. Good! It’s about time someone told these arrogant jackanapes to get their heads out of their rectums.

Mr. Sandusky realizing that these folks were serious and not gong away easily, issued this up date:

“As a follow-up to our previous statement on this subject, we would again like to apologize to the members of the Ravelry community. While we stand by our obligation to protect the marks and terms associated with the Olympic and Paralympic Movements in the United States, we sincerely regret the use of insensitive terms in relation to the actions of a group that was clearly not intending to denigrate or disrespect the Olympic Movement. We hope you’ll accept this apology and continue to support the Olympic Games.”

Now that is the way activists get it done. Thank you, Ravelry. Knit on!

Jun 21 2012

Do Not Annoy Ladies With Sharp Objects

You knitting folks will be interested in this. My daughter, who is an avid knitter and belongs to the group in question, brought it to my attention

Knitters Outraged After U.S. Olympic Committee Squashes Knitting Olympics-and Disses Knitters

Knitters Outraged After U.S. Olympic Committee Squashes Knitting Olympics-and Disses Knitters

by Adrian Chen    

If you mess with the Olympics trademark, a cloud of legal hurt will descend on you faster than Tyson Gay in the Men’s 100 meters. Case in point: The U.S. Olympic Committee has sent a cease and desist letter to a knitting-based social network for hosting a knitting “olympics.” Now, knitters are in revolt.

2012 was to be the third year that the knitting social network Ravelry-yes, this exists and is surprisingly popular-hosted a “Ravelympics,” a knitting competition for users that includes events like an “afghan marathon,” and “scarf hockey.” Knitters were supposed to compete in their events while watching the actual Games on TV.

But that was before the U.S. Olympics Committee got wind of it and sent Ravelry a cease & desist, for making a mockery of the Games with their needlework. Here’s a passage from the letter, sent by the USOC’s general counsel and posted by Ravelry founder Casey Forbes to his blog (Ravelry account required):

   The athletes of Team USA have usually spent the better part of their entire lives training for the opportunity to compete at the Olympic Games and represent their country in a sport that means everything to them.  For many, the Olympics represent the pinnacle of their sporting career.  Over more than a century, the Olympic Games have brought athletes around the world together to compete at the Olympic Games and represent their country in a sport that means everything to them.

   […]

  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.

She also sent this snark tinged response from “jen” at Magpie Knitter

How many Olympic athletes have you insulted?

Today, I learned that I have insulted the entire US Olympic team. In fact, not only have I done this once, I have done it twice – first in 2008 and again in 2010. I feel it is only right that I publicly admit to my shameful actions and share them here with you. The pictures below are graphic and may be upsetting to some, so please only look if you have a strong stomach. May not be safe for work.

Let me steel myself first…ok. Here it is: the evidence of my shameful lack of respect for the Olympic games and athletes everywhere.

Photobucket

Ravelympics Wristers

[..]

So again – my deepest and most humble and sincere apology. It is terribly unfortunate, of course, that the US Olympic Committee has managed to suck away a lot of the anticipation I had for the 2012 Olympics, but I accept that the error was mine in the first place. Yes, the Ravelympics had me watching the Olympics for the first time since I was a young child, but two wrongs – knitting and the Ravelympics – don’t make a right. The poor US athletes could probably sense that I was knitting while I watched and cheered, and who knows how many medals that knowledge may have cost them? Or dollars, since any time I spent knitting was time I wasn’t spending with one of the many corporate sponsors (whom we all know should have priority)? Now that I have been set straight, I am relieved to see that as many references to knitting and other fiber crafts as possible are being squashed to protect the purity of the Games.

It’s a shame about that red, white and blue cabled sweater I planned to design and knit during the Ravelympics in honor of our athletes, but at least now I won’t be disrespecting anyone with it.

If you think that’s bad, try the Londinium 2012 ( I use that term because it’s not copyrighted, yet, and I wouldn’t want to get in trouble here)

2012 Olympics – be careful what you say

Under the London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Act 2006 it will be virtually impossible to associate your firm or its activities with that of the Olympics unless you are one of the very few official partner/sponsors. Even mention of the word ‘Olympics’ could see practitioners in breach of the Act.

[..]

The use of specific ‘Listed Expressions’ which are quantified as follows: any two of the words in list A below; or, any word in list A with one or more words in list B:

List A

Games

Two Thousand and Twelve

2012

Twenty-Twelve

List B

London

Medals

Sponsors

Summer

Gold

Silver

Bronze

I think these Olympic Committees are getting carried away with this and alienating supporters.