WOW. I found this Ravelry thread linked from a post by the Magpie Knitter (via a Facebook post by Knitting Kninja)–the original post was 4 hours ago, and there are already about 750 posts/30 pages in the thread. 

The General Counsel of the United States Olympic Committee sent a cease and desist to Ravelry about the use of the word “Ravelympics,” and also this: “The patterns and projects featuring the Olympic Symbol on’s website are not licensed and therefore unauthorized.  The USOC respectfully asks that all such patterns and projects be removed from your site.” (The Ravelympics is an annual event that’s been going on since 2008, in which knitters watch the Olympics while working on particularly challenging projects.)

It includes this passage:

“The athletes of Team USA have usually spent the better part of their entire lives training for the opportunity to compete at the Olympic Games and represent their country in a sport that means everything to them.  For many, the Olympics represent the pinnacle of their sporting career.  Over more than a century, the Olympic Games have brought athletes around the world together to compete in an event that has come to mean much more than just a competition between the world’s best athletes.  The Olympic Games represent ideals that go beyond sport to encompass culture and education, tolerance and respect, world peace and harmony.

The USOC is responsible for preserving the Olympic Movement and its ideals within the United States.  Part of that responsibility is to ensure that Olympic trademarks, imagery and terminology are protected and given the appropriate respect.  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.”

Unbelievably humorless. Also incredibly insulting to knitters. And what about that whole “culture and education, tolerance and respect, world peace and harmony” thing? If they want to go after each of the individuals who have put up unlicensed Olympics-themed patterns for sale because of trademark infringement, that’s one thing, but it just seems ridiculous and mean-spirited to go after the “Ravelympics” phrase with justification about how the individual knitters/crocheters’ goals and personal achievements are so laughable and paltry that just associating them with the Olympics is a grave insult, the equivalent of spitting in the face of an Olympic athlete. 

As an aside, while anybody can knit and not anybody can be an Olympic athlete, I am pretty sure some of the knitters participating have spent more time knitting than any of the Olympians have training for the Olympics.