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. 

Trade Your Pin

You can by Sichi 2014 Pins on the official Olympic website. All pins for 200 rubles.

In 1988 Coca-Cola started to support pin trading, setting up the first Coca Cola Pin Trading Center (PTC). We also started to produce our own collections that have since become an enormous success with the public. 

This year's Coca-Cola PTC is located inside the Russian Olympic Team Fan House in Sochi's Olympic Park, that's right behind the bright-red Coca-Cola Park 'V Dvizhenii!". And as usual, there's no lack of attention.

Trade Your Pin

You can find pins from all over the world – Olympic pins, brand pins (like Coca-Cola Olympic pins), pins of some sport disciplines etc.

© Fotobank/Getty Images/Ryan Pierse

'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 Coca-Cola bottle. 

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 Coca-Cola PTC. 

'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.'

Trade Your Pin

Pam Litz and his pins.

Pam claims she has around 6,000 pins in her collection and has traveled to 13 Olympics. However impressive this may sound, she's doesn’t hold the record. 

'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." 

Trade Your Pin

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.