There are nearly 9000 members of the Ravelympic group in which I am one of the administrators. Not everyone competing has joined the group, however, so I'm confident in estimating that the true count exceeds 10K.
Thousands -- literally thousands -- of knit, crochet, and woven items will be created in the next sixteen days by competitors around the world representing more than 400 teams. More importantly, thousands -- literally thousands -- of people, all ages and skill levels, will challenge themselves to do something they have never done before. Whether it be a 50,000 stitch sweater in two weeks, a dozen toys for charity, or someone's first-ever try at lace or colorwork, the spirit of the Ravelympics is to attempt something grand.
Until the torch in Vancouver is extinguished, I and my fellow volunteers will hand out medals and celebrate the achievements of these "Ravthletes" as we call them. Among them will be people mastering a skill they have long honed, and people claiming an identity as crafters they've never felt entitled to before. I'm honored to be a part of their transformation over this brief, magical period. Their trust and love changes me as much as the event changes them.
So tonight is a night to celebrate. Let the Games begin!