US Olympic Committee apologises after demanding end to “disrespectful” knitting competition

One of the world’s biggest Olympic committees has apologised after it demanded that a knitting and crochet community change its biannual “fibre craft events” because it felt that they were “disrectful to our country’s finest athletes”.

Fak’s thoughts reported earlier this week on the US Olympic Committee’s letter to the organisers of the Ravelympics, which sees people from all over the world creating craft items in a range of categories during the period of the Olympics. The competition has been running every other year since 2008.

The letter read:

“We believe using the name “Ravelympics” for a competition that involves an afghan marathon, scarf hockey and sweater triathlon, among others, tends 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.”

But following a backlash, the committee sent an apology, saying that:

“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.”

However, the letter does not appear to retract the request to stop the competition in its current form, explaining:

“We are totally dependent on our sponsors, who pay for the right to associate with the Olympic Movement, as well as our generous donors to bring Team USA to the Games.”

Comments on the official statement suggest members of the community are not happy with the apology. Naz Fabec felt that the explanation that “The letter sent to the organizers of the Ravelympics was a standard-form cease and desist letter” disingenuous:

“I’m pretty sure a standard cease and desist letter doesn’t contain the terms “denigrate.” In fact, I’m certain of it. Here is a link to a standard cease and desist letter, specifically in regards to trademarks:

“If you add in personal commentary to a letter, own up to it. Don’t say it’s just a standard form and try to shrug it off.”

Others see the invitation to supply handmade items to the US Olympic team as insulting and revealing an ignorance of the international nature of the community.

Thanks to GingerKnits on Twitter for flagging this up to HMI Olympics.

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