Friday, June 22, 2012


In less than 24 hours we made quite a wave all over the internets and the media.  We do not roll over and play dead.  2+ million fiber artisans are not the stereotypical retiring grandmother these men thought we were.  We stand up for what we believe and for ourselves.

We received not one, but two apologies from Team USA Spokesperson, Patrick Sandusky.  Albeit the first is proforma and very patronizing.

"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. ...
"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."

Right.  How many times have you apologized and then asked the apologee for something in the same breath?  This did not cut any ice with us.

Juliann S-T posted: "Thanks for the half hearted attempt at a maybe apology that keeps you clear of any blame. Now, you want us to give you free stuff?"

So we went back to flooding the internets.
              from Lynne Kiesling

"...Second, social media changes this calculation and the possible impact and awareness of this story. This story really became public yesterday, and now there are hundreds and hundreds of tweets to USOC objecting to their actions....The activity is the same over at the USOC’s Facebook page, where hundreds and hundreds of knitters are criticizing the USOC in their “recommendation” section (oh the irony of the forms of social media …).

Technology and social media exacerbate this kind of misstep and miscalculation and increase its potential cost, because if stories like this go viral they go beyond the initially affected population. And here’s another irony in the economics: USOC is aggressive in enforcing its trademark because it has to make money to support athletes, and having a strong brand is a way to attract corporate sponsors in the absence of taxpayer funding of athletic training. But if their trademark enforcement angers a large enough group of well-meaning consumers who are riffing off of the OlympicsTM name to honor the athletes and the inspiration they provide, what happens when those consumers use social media to communicate to the sponsors how angry they are and how much less likely they are to purchase their products? That’s what’s happening on Twitter right now at the #Ravelympics hashtag."  complete story here.

NPR did a story

Yahoo sports carried an article by an Olympian athlete.

The second apology was still insincere.

Statement Update:  "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."

I see this as more of a please go away now.  There is a month to go before the games and we don't want any more trouble.

International News France 24 has an AFP article.

London NYTimes did a story  Notice that now Sandusky says members of his family knit.  Gee but you don't value it much do you?

"Sandusky, who said his wife and mother-in-law were avid knitters — his mother-in-law just knitted sweaters for his twins’ birthday, for gosh sakes, he said — responded to the first onslaught of criticisms with a letter posted on the U.S.O.C.’s Web site. He said the letter to the Ravelympics organizers was a standard cease-and-desist one.

“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,” he wrote in the apology that was, undoubtedly, the first of its kind.Still, despite the apology, the U.S.O.C.’s stance remained the same — the committee wants the knitters to drop the name Ravelympics."

Because we like to have community fun and because the mods spent a great deal of time putting our games together we shall go on, probably with a new name but its the same Olympic parallel game.

        from Kimberli, one of our mods

What a Difference a Day Makes
After a whole day yesterday spent on the boards recovering from shock and watching the kerfuffle build… I log on tonight and SURPRISE! An apology already?! Now, instead of an update about all the blogspinteresttwitter(#ravelympics, #usoc), and facebook reactions to the USOC, I can stand back in awe at the collective power of Ravelry. So today I’m recovering from a much different kind of shock
We all know Ravelry is special. This place is unique in the world of social networks because it’s a big ole community. Thank you Casey and frecklegirl for dreaming it up and making it real. After the past 24 hours I’m just so humbled (impressed…speechless…thrilled…the list goes on…) by the response from all of Ravelry (and their loved-ones, friends, co-workers…). Your collective love of the Ravelympics just gives me goosebumps. It is more than just a trademark issue (that I get). But the letter went beyond legalese. Never did I expect to see “denigrate” used to describe our event….ever.
Modern life can be fast, frantic and impersonal. It’s easy to feel disconnected. But not here. Here in the Ravelympic Village we get it. Where else can millions of people around the world gather, create not only gazillions of beautiful handmade items, but this astoundingly wonderful, truly international community. United Nations…take note. This is how you go about creating world peace. One stitch at a time. :)
You’re enthusiasm and appreciation for the spirit of the Ravelympics has totally rekindled my spirit. 
Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Now…..let’s get back to training! Only 35 days left until our Mass-Cast On Heard Round the World! I for one will be casting on much more mindfully and appreciatively this year. :)

 For me, my glasses are no longer tinted with Olympic romanticism.  I have been forced to see the greed and corporate-ness of the USOC and read about what the athletes are forced to do to comply with that greed.  I so enjoyed the events, the ceremonies, the geography lessons and bios.  I will so again but not with the same feelings or enthusiasm and certainly not with my wallet.  Perhaps instead I will make a donation to Ravelry.

Oh and only 8 days to the start of the Tour de Fleece.   Go spinners.

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