Ravelry renames Ravelympics under pressure from U.S. Olympic Committee

Although the USOC has apologized for some nasty comments about the online knitting community, Ravelry will still have to rename its annual knitting and crochet contest.

Mar 3, 2020, 5:03 am*

IRL

Lauren Rae Orsini 

Lauren Rae Orsini

The U.S. Olympic Committee may have apologized to knitting social network Ravelry, but there’s one point it isn’t backing down about.

The Ravelympics name must change today.

It’s been a long four days for the folks behind Ravelry’s annual fiber arts Olympics, a network-wide knitting and crochet contest that hosts events like the “Tour de Fleece.” Knitters engage in these friendly competitions while watching the Olympics on TV.

However, the USOC saw the increasingly popular Ravelympics as a threat to the Olympic brand and “denigrating” to American athletes. In an email to Ravelry founder Casey Forbes, the committee said it found the Ravelympics “disrespectful to our country’s finest athletes.”

“Yeah, because it’s so much easier to knit a sweater than to run 40 yards,” sishogan wrote.

Clearly, the USOC underestimated Ravelry’s sheer size and popularity as a social network. Following the inevitable backlash, USOC spokesperson Patrick Sandustry has apologized to the American knitting community—twice.

“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.”

In other words, the apologies change very little. The Ravelympics will still be on, but they won’t be allowed to be called by that title.

Ravelry members can vote for the new name in the official poll in the Ravelry forums. Currently there are six contenders, including Ravathon, Ravellenic Games, and Ravelrumpus.

Voting ends Monday at 3pm ET.

Photo via BelgianWaffleKnit

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*First Published: Jun 25, 2012, 2:00 pm