Ravelympics unravels US Olympic bureaucracy

The Ravelympics fought its corner against US Olympic bureaucracy

The Olympics is no stranger to controversy, but a knitting scandal is something very few people could have predicted.

This week the US Olympic Committee (USOC) sent a cease-and-desist letter to worldwide knitting forum Ravelry.com, claiming that its fun new 'Ravelympics' infringed on their copyright.

It has since backtracked and apologised for a letter which argued that the competition which involves knitters and crocheters forming teams to compete in events such as scarf hockey, a sweater triathlon and a cowl jump was breaching Olympic branding policies.

USOC complained that this infringed on their copyright and was "disprespectful" to athletes and ultimately failed to grasp the light-hearted intentions of Ravelry and the event's participants.

Naturally the knitting community didn't take kindly to this contention and took to social media sites to vent their frustration, putting two knitting needles up to USOC's letter.

USOC's Facebook page was subsequently flooded with complaints from knitters and crocheters keen to clarify that the intentions of the Ravelympics were actually getting the community into the spirit of the Olympics but competing with crafts rather than athletics.

An apology was issued soon after and the organisation claimed it "never intended to make this a personal attack on the Ravelry community or to suggest that knitters are not supportive of Team USA".

Instead it thanked the Ravelry community for its support at this busy time and explained that it was great to see people getting involved in Olympic-related activities.

The revised letter stated that in order to show its support of the knitting community USOC "would welcome any handmade items that you would like to create to travel with, and motivate, our team at the 2012 Games".

Ravelry's Ravelympics will see thousands of knitters attempt to compete an ambitious project, such as finishing an entire blanket or knitting a hat for the first time during the two weeks that the London Games are on for.

People can get involved alone or in teams and all participants win a virtual medal once they've completed their chosen craft.

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