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20 Aug 2008
IOC News , Beijing 2008

Pindemonium in Beijing

Beijing's eyes may be "pinned" on TV broadcasts of basketball, diving and other Olympic sports, but another event is drawing attention to the city's sidewalks. “Pindemonium” has broken out. Volunteers, drivers, athletes and the public all have one passion: to get their hands on and exchange as many attractive pins as possible. To show them off they stick them to their accreditation card, bags and clothes.
Beijing's most popular pins include logos from sponsors like Coca-Cola and Kodak, along with one that has a pop-out image of Beijing's National Stadium, known as the Bird’s Nest. NBC has a camera-shaped pin that lights up, and a Samsung pin features a cell phone that slides open. Chinese traders tend toward pins depicting dragons, including a set that places Beijing's five Olympic mascots against a dragon in the background.
Spreading the passion
An American from Los Angeles, Aberra Aguegnehu is a volunteer who has been to all Olympic Games since 1984 and beaten all pin records. Apart from the Olympic Games, pins are his greatest passion and he is convinced that the fever will spread around quickly: "After a slow start, interest is increasingly growing here in Beijing. You should see the Pin Centre in the Village. People are really getting excited." "The exchanging of pins has already become a sort of culture and a means of communication. In order to collect these pins, I travelled to many Olympic host cities and also made a lot of friends," said Zhang Xu, a Chinese pin collector, who was busy "bargaining" in the trading centre.

Pin trading centres
Continuing a tradition that began in 1988, Coca-Cola in Beijing again hosts the official site for Olympic pin trading - "the No. 1 spectator sport" at the Olympic Games. The Coca-Cola Official Pin Trading Centre is located in Chaoyang Park and enables pin lovers to exchange their collections as well as their experiences. Further pin trading centres set up in Beijing during the Olympic Games are located in the international zone of the Olympic Village and in the downtown area of Beijing. All the pins presented and exchanged in these trading centres will be related to the Olympic Games, both summer and winter ones. Some are officially produced by organising committees and some are made by individual delegations or media to cover the Games.
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