The tradition of Olympic pin trading has never been so popular, with some now labelling the hobby “the number one spectator sport of the Olympic Games”.
An official range of Olympic pin badges are created for each Games, and the latest batch covers themes such as the various sporting disciplines of the Olympic Games, the London 2012 logo, Team GB, British landmarks and heritage and official mascots Wenlock and Mandeville.
Not only are these pins an affordable souvenir for fans all around the world, the act of trading also helps to bridge cultures by forging connections between people of all ages, nationalities and backgrounds.
The trading of pins first began in the 1980s and involves enthusiasts meeting up in a bid to hunt out unique or unusual versions of these collectibles – and then convincing the owner to swap. The most popular meetings are The Coca Cola Official Olympic Games Pin Trading Centres, which were first held at Calgary 1988 where they drew a crowd of more than 17,000 enthusiasts each day.
During London 2012, collectors of all ages and pin trading experience have been meeting across the capital. One collector, Doug Kaplan, has been trading pins ever since Los Angeles 1984 and has gathered a vast number of Olympic pins in that time. He said: “I have probably a couple of thousand (pins). I have beach towels from each Olympics with the logo on them and then I fill it up with my pins from that Games and other Games, so all my walls at home are covered with these beach blankets full of pins.”
New badges are released on each day of the Games, visit www.London2012.com for more details.