A fascinating experience. That's how people describe one of the top attractions next to the actual sporting events at the Olympic Games.
Pin trading has been a tradition at every Olympics all the way since 1896. Fans, organizers and athletes all trade their pins in their spare time. In 1986, referees, athletes and officials decided to wear specially made badges advertising their status at the Games. Today, nearly every organization at the Games has their own pin.
'There are usually long lines of people here.' says Anna Zakharova, Coca-Cola PTC PR manager. 'When visitors see the amount of pins for trade, they are lost for words.'
Coca-Cola has a special Sochi 2014 collection for sale with each pin
costing between 10 and 20 US dollars. Apart from the main set, there is also a
special 'Pin of the Day' that visitors can get hold of. Put together at the end
of the Games, the 'Pins of the Day' will form a
If you don't want to spend your money on new pins, you can always do what
most people are likely to have come here for - trading. Collectors from around
the world come looking for pins they don’t have. At least four or five of them
are always present at the
'The most exciting thing is all the people you meet.' says Pam Litz, a pin collector from Los Angeles. 'When you exchange pins, you talk to people and make friends, especially among other collectors. I've met about 25 collectors here from all over the world.'
Pam Litz and his pins.
'I own something like 35-40,000, and I've been to 15 Olympics,' boasts Bud Kling, the pin traders' coordinator who says he is so respected in the world of pin trading, he now does corporate consulting on the subject. 'I have a little Olympic Museum at my house with 14 Olympic torches. I ran with a torch in 2002 and after running I started collecting torches. I also collect Olympic cards."
Bud Kling. Happy to have more friends.
There are certain rules you've got to follow to be successful in pin trading.
'If you openly wear more than 2 pins, it means you are open for trading,' Coca-Cola's Anna Zakharova explains. 'If you want to keep them, it's better if you hide them'.
Pin trading is becoming increasingly popular among Russians, most of who have only recently discovered the fascinating tradition.
'80% of people that come are Russians', Bud Kling confirms. 'The second biggest group are Americans, but there are people from all over the world coming. People can trade any pins, but I only trade Olympic ones in Sochi, because I just have too many'.
We wish all the pin traders lots of fun in Sochi and good luck finding rare and exciting examples.