Redneck Olympics faces lawsuit over name

Posted Aug. 09, 2011, at 5:05 p.m.
Rebecca Daoust of Tilton, N.H., rides a mechanical bull during the inaugural Redneck Olympics in Hebron on Saturday.
Jose Leiva | Sun Journal
Rebecca Daoust of Tilton, N.H., rides a mechanical bull during the inaugural Redneck Olympics in Hebron on Saturday.

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

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 Commission. 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 commission 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 Commission was not immediately returned Tuesday.

To see more from the Sun Journal, visit sunjournal.com.

SEE COMMENTS →

ADVERTISEMENT | Grow your business
ADVERTISEMENT | Grow your business

Similar Articles

More in Lewiston-Auburn