American knitters have turned their virtual needles on the U.S. Olympic Committee in a war of words over the title of a knitting competition.

Things started to unravel when the USOC sent a cease and desist letter to knitting-enthusiast social network Ravelry, demanding that it change the name of its "Ravelympics" knitting competition.

"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," USOC officials wrote in the letter. "In a sense, it is disrespectful to our country’s finest athletes and fails to recognize or appreciate their hard work."

That got the knitting community up in knots as hundreds of faithful interweavers hijacked USOC's Facebook page to voice their displeasure at being slighted. Angry knitters are making it known that their pastime takes just as much skill, precision and commitment as any old sport in the Olympics — and the 2-million strong knitting community is threatening to boycott the upcoming games in London.


"People are talking about a black out. If even half of the members
decided to go through with this - you've lost 1 million viewers. Great
job!" one knitter posted.

"Dear USOC, your attack on crafters seems to prove the old perception of jocks as bullies of the weak, the artistic and the unique. Shame on you," another person wrote.

"I mean some people run, and jump, and swim. Some people knit and purl and bobble. We support the athletes by pushing ourselves to do our best work while they are pushing themselves to do their best work. Now, how is that offensive?" a third knitter asked.

An open letter to Brett Hirsch, the USOC employee who sent the letter to Ravelry, was posted on the blog Crochet Liberation Front.

"Sir, I am offended by this complete disregard for the amount of talent, skill, and dedication required for accomplished and often well noted fiber artisans to complete large and detailed works of fiber art in a very short amount of time," the letter said.

Moral of the story? Don't mess with people holding long, pointy needles.

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