Apparently I “denigrate” Olympic athletes now

UPDATE: The USOC has updated their apology with one that should have been there in the first place. Read the top part. Thank you. I still stand by what I said, and I’m still not sure what I’m going to do about the situation, as I don’t know if this would have come about had you not had to deal with a HUGE Twitter storm of PR Nightmare. But, actions will speak louder than words. Know that every action y’all take now is being watched to see if this is sincere or not.

Yeah, so news to me yesterday, apparently my participation for the last two cycles of the Ravelympics (as well as being a captain of a team this year) is denigrating to the Olympic Athletes. Wait, I’ll give you a minute to pick your jaw up off the floor before I continue.

Hang on, wait, no, read this first, then come back: Article at Gawker

How did I do this?

By crocheting.

While watching the Olympics.

For the first time since I was a child (watching the Olympics, not crocheting).

Because apparently I’m so daft I would consider for a moment that making a sweater (Summer ’08 games) and a beaded mohair shawl (Winter ’10 games) is on par with athletes who train all their lives to compete in the Olympics (here’s a hint, I don’t).

Summer ’08 Ravelympics entry

Winter ’10 Ravelympics entry

Oh, and I also apparently assume that these gold medals (you know, bits on a screen) are the same thing and on the same level as the serious hardware our athletes strive to receive.

My “gold medal” for my sweater that denigrates athletes

My “gold medal” for my shawl that denigrates athletes

I know it’s different. I have the utmost respect and admiration for our Olympic athletes. But honestly? Prior to the Ravelympics I rarely watched the games. I didn’t make it a habit. But when I was starting my project at the start of Opening Ceremonies? My butt was in a chair with the ceremonies going on full blast. I was cheering my country’s team. I was tearing up during it. I found the opening (and closing) ceremonies beautiful and a testament to what the Olympic spirit is all about.

Whenever I was working on my project for the games, I would watch the Olympics. I was actually paying attention the last two games, more than I ever had before. Even when I finished my projects before the close, I still watched the closing ceremonies, too.

So, imagine my surprise when I saw the cease and desist letter from USOC. Now, let me clear up a few thoughts:

1. I understand trademark law. I get that you have to protect it in order to keep it. I’m not faulting you for the initial part of the cease and desist letter.

2. HOWEVER, I wasn’t aware that the word was trademarked by the US Olympic Committee. Pretty sure the Olympics are a worldwide event. Or are we the only ones who are so money hungry we trademark anything that stands still long enough to slap a TM on it?

3. Really? -lympics infringes upon the trademark? Well, that’s for people way above my pay grade to sort out, so I’ll leave that one alone.

4. It is the tone of the letter, the ugly and denigrating terms used in the letter, that has not only me, but everyone else up in arms.

There’s been a response, finally, from the USOC. “Apology” from USOC. It’s a half-arsed apology, one that I wouldn’t accept from the boy if he tried to give it to me after saying the same things the USOC’s law clerk (yes, clerk) said in that letter. So, no, I’m not accepting the apology from the USOC. And no, I’m sure as heck not going to be making anything to send to them.

I’m not sure yet what I’m going to do about Ravelympics this year. I was really looking forward to participating, to sharing the excitement of the Olympics with the boy, to showing him how to take on a challenge of something you’re not sure you can do and pushing to do it (what the Ravelympics and the Olympics are about…last I checked).

Now? Now I’m not so sure. How do I explain to him that the USOC puts money (and their sponsors) above average citizens (and their sponsors customers…lest we forget that)? I will gladly and always support our athletes. I will not, however, continue to support an entity that has apparently forgotten its entire purpose.

So while the USOC would like to say shame on me, I’m saying “Shame on you.”

Now excuse me while I go back to my knitting (yes, a post on that forthcoming, this one caught me by surprise).