Ravelympics, The USOC and the “True Nature” of the Olympic Spirit
By this time, most people have probably read about the United States Olympic Committee’s (USOC) cease & desist letter to Ravelry regarding the “Ravelympics”. The USOC’s legal power play was based on grounds that the Ravelympics somehow denigrated the “true nature” of the Olympic games. We at Craftsy think the USOC’s move lands somewhere between absurd and idiotic, with a healthy dash of hypocrisy thrown in for good measure.
In theory, the “true nature” of the Olympics and the Ravelympics are based on very similar foundation: a celebration of dedication, performance, competition, creativity, collaboration, and a global community finding singularity of purpose and common ground beyond the notions of geography, nationality, or religion. In reality, it is actually the Ravelympics that fulfill these principles. The fiber artists that constitute the participants in the Ravelympics, much like Craftsy’s vibrant yarn arts community, typify the principles of dedication, skill, and generosity the Olympics ostensibly stand for.
While I enjoy watching the Olympics every 2 years (Summer and Winter), there is little debate that its governing body, the International Olympic Committee (IOC), is a notoriously corrupt political and money-grabbing behemoth. Bribery scandals (Salt Lake City), rigged judges and embezzling (Seoul), Ticket scalping and a scheme to sell the Olympic torches (London) are just a few of the most recent hits. Not to mention the fact that the IOC was led for over 20 years by an admitted fascist and scoundrel, Juan Antonio Samaranch.
In addition to corruption at the highest levels, the Olympics have fallen prey to crass commercialism. Nothing says “true nature” of the Olympics like sponsorships from such great global citizens as British Petroleum and Dow Chemical. I’ll take a group of knitters over these guys any day of the week. Despite sponsorship from such fine community actors, every country to ever host the Olympics has taken a financial beating. I think it is fair to say the Greeks could use the $15B they squandered on the 2004 Olympics right now.
In summary, if the USOC has a half a brain, they will not issue a half-baked apology to Ravelry and its community, but rather celebrate the Ravelympics as what the ideals of the Olympics are supposed to stand for: people coming together around healthy competition, art, skill, community, and humanity.