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I'll Trade You for That!
Scholastic Kid reporter gets caught up in the Olympic pin-trading frenzy
By Mackenzie Korbus
Scholastic Kids Press Corps

Mackenzie Korbus's collection of Winter Olympic Game pins
Take a look at Mackenzie Korbus's collection of Winter Olympic Game pins. Can you spot the collectibles?
(Photo: Mackenzie Korbus)
February 2006—The Olympic Games, winter and summer, are the greatest sporting events in the world. Athletes and fans from around the globe come together to compete and share their cultures. One of the easiest—and most fun—ways to communicate with each other during the Olympic experience is by trading pins. The pin-trading frenzy broke down communication barriers and was more exciting than the Xbox buzz last holiday season!

While staying at U.S.A. House in Torino, Italy, for the games, I tried to get in on the pin-trading whirlwind.

Everywhere I looked, people were proudly displaying their pins, which are sold or given away at almost every venue and event at the Winter Games. Company sponsors, Olympic committees, countries, and even sports are all represented by colorful pins you can put on hats, coats, bags, or scarves. You collect them as you go from event to event, buy them, or trade them with your newfound friends.

At first I didn't have any pins to trade, but I tried asking for one—and got a good laugh from the pin wearers! They said they worked hard to get their pins and would only sell or trade them for other pins.

The most common pins are those representing countries at the games and company sponsors. Almost anyone can get them. Some of the pins, however, are considered collectibles. They become the most sought-after pins because there are so few of them.

I was lucky enough to get an invitation to visit a Nike hospitality event, and while there, I was given one of those collectible pins. It was gold rectangular pin featuring the Alps and the famous Nike swoosh. My dad also had a Nike pin, but not like mine! His was a more common version that many people had. Sure enough, as soon as I arrived back at U.S.A. House, everyone wanted my pin!

My sister was given a very special pin as well. During a security check at the men's semifinal hockey game (Finland vs. Russia), a police officer gave her a pin. It was a gold and maroon pin with gold flames and a "R" with a line through it. This, too, was a popular pin that many people asked her to trade with them.

Pin trading was so fun and popular during the Olympic games that I think it ought to be the next new Olympic event! How about the 500m men's pin trading and the 1000m women's pin trading relay at the 2010 games in Vancouver, Canada?


Photos, left to right: © Rick Rickman/NewSport/NewSport/Corbis; © Joe Cavaretta/AP Wide World.