From the "We Can't Make This Up" file: The U.S. Olympic Committee sent a cease-and-desist letter to the gay group The Northwest Bears after they called their summer campout the 'Kamp Kodiak 2008 Olympic Village.' The USOC owns all the trademarks, rights and imagry surrounding the Olympics and did not take kindly to a group of large, hairy gay men trying to horn in on the action. The Stranger in Seattle got hold of the letter:
The USOC is requesting that the NWBC change the terminology and imagery associated with this event. Accordingly, the USOC requests that [Northwest Bear Campout] take the necessary steps to remove all usages pertaining to the event, and ensure that Olympic terminology and imagery will not be used for any future NWBC function. In short, the USOC request that NWBC:
1. Ensure that all steps have been taken to remove the Olympic imagery and terminology from any internet site, advertisement enrollment form or signage that is in place to promote this event;
2. Refrain from using Olympic terminology in reference to the specific competitions by renaming such festivities as: Big Ass Bear Olympics with Dr. Bob and the Olympic Board Game Competitions;
3. Refrain from using Olympic terminology or engaging in any other commercial activities in violation of the Act in the future.
What ensued was a terrific back-and-forth series of letters, where the Bears, while bewildered, relented:
We also understand that you have the law on your side. Remove the name "Olympic" from our website? Done. The Olympic Torch? The rings? Even Dr. Bob's Big Ass Bear Olympics? Done, done, and done. We are 100% clean, and now you can check us off of your hit list.
This pleased the USOC's Carol Gross to no end:
I appreciate the strong ties you have to the Olympic Peninsula Region of the Pacific Northwest. As thankful as you are that the Miller River Campground is in the Cascades rather than the Olympics, I am just as pleased that you have chosen the mark 2008 Bear-jing rather than Bear-jing 2008, as the latter would have been considered a simulation of our trademark: Beijing 2008, and would have also run afoul of our legislation.
While this incident is hilarious and bizarre, the USOC has pulled this kind of crap for decades, especially when it comes to gay people. The Gay Games were first called the Gay Olympics until founder Dr. Tom Waddell was sued and he finally gave in. This despite the fact that the USOC had no trouble with the Rat Olympics or Dog Olympics being held at the same time.
Hat tip to Deadspin, where I first saw this.