Maine 'Redneck Olympics' Reportedly Warned to Drop 'Olympics' or Face Lawsuit
The U.S. Olympic Committee says a Maine organizer will have to rename his "Redneck Olympics" games, saying the man doesn't have the right to use the word "Olympics" in the event's title.
Redneck Olympics organizer Harold Brooks told FoxNews.com he received a telephone call Monday from a paralegal at the USOC warning him to change the name of his event or face a lawsuit.
The redneck games in Maine last weekend included bobbing for pigs' feet, toilet-seat horseshoes, lawn mower races, a mud run and pie-eating contest. About 2,580 people attended the event in Hebron, a town with fewer than 1,000 residents, Brooks said.
Despite a reported threat from the committee, Brooks said he's not going to change the name, saying the word has been around for 8,000 years.
"It's a word that was used by the ancient Greeks," Brooks said. "This is just a bunch of rich people looking out for other rich people. It's sickening that if you own a lot of money, you can own everything -- even a word."
"As far as government goes, I think they have bigger problems than restricting the use of the word that wasn’t even made up here in the United States," he said. "We’re not going to drop it."
USOC spokesman Mark Jones told FoxNews.com on Wednesday that the word "Olympics" is the property of the USOC. He explained that the committee has exclusive rights to the name under the Ted Stevens Olympic and Amateur Sports Act of 1978.
"Not only are we granted the exclusive rights to the Olympics in the United States by Congress and via federal law, we also have an obligation to protect those rights," Jones said in an interview. "The protection of the intellectual property is incredibly important for us to be able to continue to provide America's elite athletes with the support they deserve."
"We have no interest in looking like the big bad Olympic team committee," he added.
Jones declined to comment on whether a lawsuit will be filed if Brooks does not drop the word, saying only, "We have every interest in finding some sort of accommodation with the gentleman."
Brooks could not be reached for comment when contacted Wednesday by FoxNews.com.
Brooks' case isn't the first time the USOC threatened legal action against groups or individuals looking to use the word "Olympics."
A Minnesota band called "The Olympic Hopefuls" was forced to change its name to "The Hopefuls" in 2009, according to the newspaper. And an athletic event called the Gay Olympics, facing legal action by the U.S. committee, renamed its event the Gay Games in 1982.
FoxNews.com's Cristina Corbin and the Associated Press contributed to this report.