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02 Sep 2010

Expert rates YOG the pinnacle of Olympic pin trading

by May Cheng, IOC Young Reporter

He may have gone to 12 Olympic Games and interacted with countless athletes, but trading in the Youth Olympic Village is still unlike anything pin collector Bud Kling has ever experienced.
For one, unlike at the Olympic Games, the athletes that come up to him at his trading booth are often carrying their own equipment – be it shot puts, oars or archery bows.

“You don’t see that at the Olympic Games. Here, it’s like watching kids go to school with their backpacks. It’s wonderful,” said Kling, a pin collector and trader of 26 years. He is in Singapore for the inaugural Youth Olympic Games and is stationed at the pin trading centre inside the Village every day.

The 59-year-old from California, who was also the head coordinator of the pin trading centres at the Beijing Games, has a collection of some 40,000 Olympic pins – over a hundred thousand if you include those from the Paralympics.

To Kling, one of the biggest draws of pin-trading at events like these is meeting and getting to know people from all over the world. Part of the satisfaction of pin-trading comes from starting someone off on pin collection.

Over the years, Kling – who also coaches tennis – has become not just a collector, but also a designer. He designed the Youth Olympic Village pin, featuring Lyo and Merly – the YOG mascots on it. “There may be pins that are not necessarily great pins but there’s a great story to it, like friendships that started over it. And believe it or not, because the village pin is just so special, it’s become one of my top ten pins.”

Unlike other Youth Olympic pins, this limited edition pin – there are only three hundred of them – cannot be bought. It could only be traded at the Youth Olympic village and proved to be wildly popular. Trading pins with young athletes at the Youth Olympic Games has proven to be quite a different experience than trading with the more mature crowd at the traditional Games.
Dealing with the much more energetic youth means that Kling barely had a moment to catch his breath in between trades – much less sit down and take a break. “They’re great – they laugh at my jokes, and they ask lots of questions,” he said.

The young athletes are also more spontaneous. For instance, Kling completed a three-way trade for the first time at the suggestion of a young athlete. “I didn’t even care what we were trading,” he said. “There’s a hundred stories to be told after every Games – I will remember that one.”

He said: “This could be the first Games where there’s a possibility I might run out!
“This is crazy! The athletes – even the staff are trading pins. I’m going to go home and tell them this was the best pin trading centre of any Games I’ve ever been to.”

Tags YOG
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