Today, I learned that I have insulted the entire US Olympic team. In fact, not only have I done this once, I have done it twice - first in 2008 and again in 2010. I feel it is only right that I publicly admit to my shameful actions and share them here with you. The pictures below are graphic and may be upsetting to some, so please only look if you have a strong stomach. May not be safe for work.
Let me steel myself first…ok. Here it is: the evidence of my shameful lack of respect for the Olympic games and athletes everywhere.
Again, my apologies to all, but most especially to the US Olympic athletes. Had I only known that by – please forgive me, but I’m going to have to use the word – that by knitting I was denigrating the Olympic games and disrespecting all your hard work, I swear I never would have done it. I can only plead ignorance.
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.
I mistakenly believed that by challenging myself to do things that I had never done before, albeit with needle and yarn, while cheering on these athletes as they pushed themselves to their highest level, was actually showing respect and support. The hat shown at the top was my very first felting project, and I did the hand felting part when there wasn’t any TV coverage of the Olympics so I wouldn’t miss it. The fingerless gloves? My very first pair, and the first time I’d ever used DPNs. I didn’t medal for the gloves – I finished them the same day the Olympics ended but after the closing ceremonies, but in the spirit of the Olympics I was determined to finish anyway. (Well, I thought it was the spirit of the Olympics, but clearly I was wrong.) And the two hats in the bottom pictures, together with the buttoned cowl, clearly were not enough of a challenge, even if I did choose the hat pattern specifically because I’d learned the lump in my neck might be cancer (it was) and I might need them for chemo (I didn’t, so I gave them away to someone who did…but that wasn’t in the Olympic spirit either, I’m sure), and even if the cowl required me to start over several times because if at first you don’t succeed…
I am also deeply appreciative that the US Olympic Committee reminded me of the true spirit of the Olympic Games:
The Olympic Games represent ideals that go beyond sport to encompass culture and education, tolerance and respect, world peace and harmony.
Clearly, I erred in thinking that joining together electronically with thousands of other knitters, crocheters, weavers, spinners, and dyers, across not only the United States but the world, could help promote things like world peace and harmony. Just because we found something to bridge our differences – be they racial, cultural, religious, or any other – and learned how to tolerate and respect one another as we celebrated the endeavors of our respective athletes doesn’t mean it was a worthy gesture since obviously knitting has nothing to do with culture or education. How incredibly pompous of us, really.
So again – my deepest and most humble and sincere apology. It is terribly unfortunate, of course, that the US Olympic Committee has managed to suck away a lot of the anticipation I had for the 2012 Olympics, but I accept that the error was mine in the first place. Yes, the Ravelympics had me watching the Olympics for the first time since I was a young child, but two wrongs – knitting and the Ravelympics – don’t make a right. The poor US athletes could probably sense that I was knitting while I watched and cheered, and who knows how many medals that knowledge may have cost them? Or dollars, since any time I spent knitting was time I wasn’t spending with one of the many corporate sponsors (whom we all know should have priority)? Now that I have been set straight, I am relieved to see that as many references to knitting and other fiber crafts as possible are being squashed to protect the purity of the Games.
It’s a shame about that red, white and blue cabled sweater I planned to design and knit during the Ravelympics in honor of our athletes, but at least now I won’t be disrespecting anyone with it.
Note: I replaced the original link to the Ravelry thread to a Gawker article, so people could read the letter without having to get an account, but for anyone interested in that thread, you can find it here.