The US Olympic Committee Got In A Huge Fight With Knitters

The first real scandal of the 2012 Olympic Games involved some cranky knitters and USOC lawyers who didn’t know who they were messing with . We have the complete breakdown.

The Parties

Ravelry.com, a knitting online community for “knitters, crocheters, designers, spinners, weavers and dyers to keep track of their yarn, tools, project and pattern information, and look to others for ideas and inspiration.”

US Olympic Committee

They’re in charge of the people (and merchandise, etc) that represent the United States in the Olympics.

As they have done for many years past, Ravelry.com users participate in what is called a “Ravelympics”, which is a call to challenge a project the knitters have never challenged before. For example, if an afghan is on a knitter’s bucket list, they are encouraged to try it during the Ravelympics, which this year was scheduled to take place during the same period as the London games. In past years it had taken place during the 2008 and 2010 Olympics as well.

Somehow, the United States Olympic Committee got word of this and was unhappy with what they viewed as a trademark infringement.

After a discussion between lawyers of each party, the USOC decided to send the knitters a cease-and-desist letter.

It was promptly posted in the forum section of Ravelry.com and immediately drew immense outrage.

The Outrage Begins: A Cease-and-Desist Letter

The Message Board Responds

Less than 24 hours later: Angry knitters immediately launched an attack on the USOC Facebook page. Instead of the usual news about wrestling, swimming and more, the yarn-enthusiasts began to unravel their complaints.

Thursday Afternoon: The First Apology

Having perhaps noticed the USOC’s Facebook page was abuzz about knitting, or perhaps after a few dozen phone calls and angry emails, the USOC spokesman Patrick Sandusky issued a statement apologizing for the harsh cease-and-desist letter. He then invited the Ravelry community to send hand-crafted items to Team USA.

That Didn’t Go Over So Well.

So Two Hours Later …

Again, They’re Sorry

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