When the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) found out that the Ravelry group was hosting its (third) “Ravelympics” competition, they promptly (and perhaps too quickly) sent a cease and desist letter.
Back in 1982, USOC took on a case against the Gay Olympics. The U.S. Supreme Court then ruled that USOC has exclusive rights to the word Olympics. The right can extend to words that play off of “Olympics.”
In this case, USOC is taking on the Ravelry community. The Ravelry group is a large online knitting community. Ravelry hosts a competition that takes place while watching the (traditional) Olympic games.
The knitting participants were to take on different events including “scarf hockey,” “a sweater triathlon,” and an “afghan marathon.”
In regards to Ravelympics events, USOC’s cease and desist letter stated that Ravely’s events tend 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.”
Should USOC allow Ravelry’s Ravelympics?
Surely people do worse things than knit while watching the Olympic games. But so long as those people are not infringing on the Olympic name, I suppose they shall be fine.