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Beijing Olympics Pins (2008 Summer Olympics Gifts – Day 5)

August 12th, 2008 · No Comments · US Olympic Shop, USA Olympics

For the last few weeks, we’ve been highlighting great Olympics souvenirs where proceeds go to support the athletes of the US Olympic Team.

For the next 12 days, we’ll highlight one new product each evening from the US Olympic Shop. Today, we’re going to talk about the history of Olympic Pins and Olympic Pin Trading.

1900 Olympic pin
Olympics Pin Trading has been around since the first modern Olympics in 1896. The first “pins” were originally cardboard discs that were designed to identify athletes by their countries, officials, and the press. Some Olympians that year started to trade their own badges with others as gestures of goodwill, and a tradition was started. To the right, you see an image of a judge’s pin from the 1900 Olympics in Paris.

1928 olympic pinIn the next few decades, more official pins were created to identify different groups, from the International Olympic Committee to members of the media. The pins started to become more stylized and resemble jewelry and eventually were produced for sale to spectators as well as participants. By the time of the 1924 Summer Games in Paris, the concept of the Olympic Village began, and so participants in the Olympics started to exchange their countries’ pins in earnest.

From 1933 to 1936, more than 1 million pins were sold to the public to help underwrite the games in Germany. To the right, you see the very rare pin from the 1936 Berlin Games. In 1940, even though the Olympics were cancelled during the war, pins were still produced.

In 1968’s games in Mexico City, the pin with a clitch to fasten the pin to clothing, which has become the norm today, was introduced. Pin collecting and pin trading took off in a big way in the Lake Placid Winter Games in 1980 and the Los Angeles Summer Games in 1984. Since then, it’s become an international event in itself.

Here are some pins from this year’s Olympics in Beijing, for sale from the official shop of the US Olympic Team. These all have the official Beijing 2008 logo. Unlike with other pin shops, you can be sure these proceeds will go directly to support our athletes. Just click on any pin, and you’ll be brought to the Olympic Store to buy it.


Cheer on Team USA and check back here each day to track their progress on this official medal count widget.


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