Thursday, June 28, 2012

So much for team spirit.

Warning: this post is not as positive as I usually like to keep things here.  I promise I have some exciting and happy stuff to post, but I'll keep it separate.

It has come to my attention that the United States Olympics Committee has decided to send a "cease and desist" letter to the folks over at Ravelry, because, as they see it,

"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."

It's understandable that they would view using trademarks such as the Olympic symbols or calling one's business "the official training blah-blah for the Olympics" - people pay big bucks for that. But for the rest of us without corporate wallets, how do we enter into the Olympics?  Sure, one way is to buy stuff from the paid supporters. Another way is to hold your own microcosm of the big event through parties and competitions -- things that raise awareness and interest. This, in turn, tends to lead to buying the "stuff" of said paid supporters.  What used to be called the Ravelympics and the Knitting Olympics was a way of bringing people in to engage the sports on a new level, and even reaching an audience that might not otherwise support the Olympic team.  Basically, the USOC declared that they would rather have a smaller audience that only wants to watch and pay and drink, and leave the competition to the 'real' athletes only.  Because that's respectful.  Not inspiring people in their 'average joe' life to strive for excellence.  It's no longer even pretending to be about the solidarity of a nation.  And, sadly, this letter makes the Olympics feel just that much more like any other professional sport -- something on TV that I can just as well live without.

Post Script: I'm coming to the discussion a bit late. The Here's a link to the USOC's response to the uproar in the knitting community. It does not make me feel better about their initial statement.  The knitting community is still carrying on the competitions and events, but cannot call them "Olympic."  Meh.  What's the point, then?

1 comment:

  1. I'm out of touch, too. Just heard a tiny bit of this yesterday and wasn't really sure what had happened. Completely silly. Whatever happened to 'choosing your battles'? Maybe the powers that be were worried we were all on knitting performance-enhancing steroids during our games ;)

    Ridiculous! Melissa