Redneck Olympics faces lawsuit over name

HEBRON — The Redneck Olympics are facing a legal challenge from the United States Olympic Committee, according to organizer Harold Brooks.

Harold Brooks

Jose Leiva/Sun Journal

Rebecca Daoust of Tilton, N.H., rides a mechanical bull during the first annual Redneck Olympics in Hebron on Saturday.

Brooks said he received a phone call Monday from a legal office of the USOC, telling him he needs to change the name of his event in the future or face a lawsuit.

He was told the word “Olympics” is the property of the Olympic Committee. Brooks said it's a case of large group bullying a small businessman.

“I said, 'I'm not basing it on your Olympics, I'm basing it on the Olympics in Greece.'” Brooks said.

“I understand we can't use the word 'Pepsi,' but we can use the word 'soda.' The Olympics has been around for thousands of years.”

It wouldn't be the first time the USOC has threatened to sue someone for using the word “Olympics” in a name. Under the U.S. Amateur Sports Act of 1978, the committee has exclusive rights to the name in the U.S.

A Minnesota band called “The Olympic Hopefuls” was forced to change its name to “The Hopefuls” in 2009. In 1982, an athletic event called the “Gay Olympics” changed its name to the “Gay Games” when the committee threatened a lawsuit.

According to the Special Olympics website, the USOC gave special permission for the Special Olympics to use the word in 1971.

Brooks said he has no plan to change the name. “People told me this is the only Olympics they'll ever go to,” he said. Most of his guests couldn't afford to fly to the real Olympics, he said, and he said no one would ever confuse the two events.

“I'm going to refuse to not use that word,” he said.

A call to the United States Olympic Committee was not immediately returned Tuesday.

treaves@sunjournal.com

Editor's note: A previous version of this story misnamed the United States Olympic Committee. It has been corrected.

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Comments

Theodore Pride's picture

Not sure where I stand on this issue:

On one hand, the Olympics date back to ancient Greece, and therefore aren't something that anyone - even a world organization - should be able to copyright. On the other hand, do we really want thousands of competition wannabe's using the word Olympics? Dance Olympics, Midget Olympics, Gay Olympics (imagine the uproar if someone had a Straight Olympics...), etc. I'm not saying the Redneck Olympics are necessarily unworthy of the name - I'm just a little afraid of what else people might start using the word Olympics for.

Maybe change the rules so organizations can use the word Olympics, but only for local or statewide competitions? That shouldn't infringe on anything important.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Harold, just call it RED NECK

Harold, just call it RED NECK 'LYMPICS.... A true RedNeck wouldn't pronounce the "O", anyway. If that doesn't work for ya, countersue them bastards. AARRGHH!!

Chad Levasseur's picture

Can't a guy just have fun?

I just can't wrap my head around this whole thing. I get licensing and all that goes along with it. I just can't believe people are actually looking hard enough to find an event in Hebron Maine that uses 1 particular word and than to call Brooks up and threaten him with a lawsuit!! Doesn't it just seem that there are too many rules and laws and stipulations to just be able to live life the way we want to?

Stick to your guns Brooks! I wonder if they own the word Olympix if all else fails?

GARY SAVARD's picture

Harold, just call it "The

Harold, just call it "The Redneck Games" or some such thing, enjoy the publicity that the USOC gave you at no cost to you, and have fun with the event going forward. If nothing else, this just goes to show how far we've come in the frivolous and stupid category since our country was founded. BTW, if you don't think this country is headed south, you just might NOT be a redneck.

Tizz Crowley's picture

sad state of affairs when a simple word is owned...

I laughed and enjoyed a moment when I read the story about the Redneck Olympic events. While I wouldn't have participated, I think I'd have enjoyed viewing the competition.

It's a sad state of affairs, when the US Olympic team feels compelled to step in and demand the word "Olympics".

When I hear the word Olympics, I also think of Greece and ancient times. I think of the importance of fostering good sportsmanship and putting national interest aside. I think of good times had by all.

If not Greece, my next thought goes to the Special Olympics and the great job and efforts of the participants. How we could all take a lesson in perseverance.

Silly me, I don't think of the US Olympic organization until members appear at medal ceremonies every four years.

I wonder if the US Olympic Committee will remember this incident when they try to solicit donations in the area.

Tizz

 's picture

ONLY

Only in the United States ????? SUE SUE SUE SUE over something so funny as Red Neck Olympic. nuts

 's picture

Funny, I thought Jeff

Funny, I thought Jeff Foxworthy would file a suit.

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