So, until this last week, I, like many people, thought the Olympics was about competing in sports at an International level. I thought the spirit of the Olympics was about people getting behind the competitors and supporting them. Two things I’ve come across this week show how wrong that idea is.
The first, which totally breaks my heart, is the news that the Wool Sack have had their access to the athletes removed from them. For those who don’t know about this, a large group of British fibre crafters have been making cushions for the athletes, made from British wool (even the stuffing is fleece from British sheep), as a memento of their visit to the UK. This was all done with communication with the London 2012 Olympic Committee, who waited for these women to organise these cushions, and then proceeded to muck them around. Every change made it more and more difficult for them to distribute the cushions until finally they have no access whatsoever to the athletes and no way to distribute their 5000 handmade cushions.
The other issue is that Ravelry have been sent a letter by the USOC, asking them to cease the use of the term Ravelympics. For those not aware, the Ravelympics is an opportunity for knitters (and spinners, crocheters and probably weavers and other fibre crafters) to challenge themselves in their crafting for the duration of the Olympic games, whilst watching and supporting the athletes.
If this had been the extent of the USOCs correspondence, I probably wouldn’t be posting this, but in their letter, the USOC accused us of denigrating the Olympics and the athletes who have trained for much of their lives to get to this pinnacle of sporting competition. I am truly insulted by this accusation.
We are not athletes, but we do have skills which we work to improve and, during the Olympics, we challenge ourselves to complete something that will stretch our skills. In 2010, whilst watching the Winter Olympics, I challenged myself to knit a shawl and a jumper for Rohan. I actually didn’t quite complete them, it took a few extra days, though not many. I’m really proud of them. It would take me much longer to knit these under usual circumstances, and it was great to challenge and push myself whilst watching the athletes try to excel.
I’ve been really excited about this year, as I was looking forward to doing this live. I still intend to take my knitting and spinning with me to ExCel when I go to watch the Taekwondo, but now there will be a bitter taste that I’m “denigrating” the athletes with it. It won’t stop me, because I know I’m not, but it does take the shine off somewhat.
Oh, and what do both of these have in common? They are all about the sponsorship of the Games, hence the title of this post. What the Games are really about is the sponsorship deals. I, for one, feel rather less well inclined towards the official sponsors, due to the behaviour of various Olympic committees.