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MY OLYMPICS JOURNEY: Pins … they’re a habit and a state of mind

When I arrived at my first Olympics in Vancouver in 2010, I didn’t understand pin trading.

I grasped the concept. I had been told about the concept and advised to bring some 11Alive pins to trade. But I ignored the advice. Pin trading sounded silly, and I didn’t get why it was a big deal.

By the time I left Vancouver, I had become a full-fledged pin convert.

Some people definitely come to the Olympics to collect pins. They value the more expensive ones, look to make deals with other traders and fans, and approach the objects from the perspective of a hobbyist. Most pin traders, though, seem to approach it for the social element. They want to trade pins so they can remember the stories behind them. They want to be able to look at their pins years later and instantly transport themselves back to when they received them.

I find myself doing this more regularly than I would have expected. I have kept my pin chains from the 2010 and 2014 Winter Games, and I still check them out on occasion and revel in the memories.

Already in 2016, I have snagged some great pins … and stories.

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3 GREAT STORIES: Starring waffles, touchdowns, & justice

Every week, I shine the spotlight on some of the best storytelling in the business and offer my comments. “3 Great Stories of the Week” will post every Monday at 8 AM.

Empire of waffles: Utah County man credits success to job loss (10/11/15, KSL-TV): More and more in local TV news, I notice photojournalists trying inventive moves with smaller cameras.

Witness this piece from KSL-TV’s Ashley Kewish and photojournalist Ray Boone.

Just make sure you’re doing so on a full stomach.

Boone shoots the story of a Utah man who lost his job and then opened a waffle truck. Because a good portion of the package takes place inside the truck, Boone gets creative with — I assume — a GoPro that maneuvers all over the place. It graces the ceiling, sidles next to a waffle iron, and hovers over the action.

I appreciate the extra effort he made to make that story even more delicious.

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MY OLYMPICS JOURNEY: How to succeed at pin trading (with kinda, sorta trying)

I have hinted at it.

I have mentioned it.

But I have not really delved into the subplot bubbling under my Sochi Olympics experience.

That would be pin trading.

Perhaps you have never heard of it. I know I had never heard of it until I arrived at the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver. Within a few days, a collection of uniquely dressed gentleman had set up long, pin-filled tables outside the International Broadcast Center.

But pin trading is a phenomenon. Athletes, sponsors, and media members arrive at the Olympics with pins representing whoever their country, company, or publication. When two people of differing Olympic backgrounds have a pleasant conversation, they conclude it by exchanging pins.

At least, that is the theory.

But typically, it works a little differently. Some people simply do not care about the practice. Some maybe care too much, eyeing others’ pin chains with hawk-like tendencies. And some simply do it for the sport; they like to inject a little “Let’s make a deal” undercurrent to the Olympic grind.

I probably combine all three mentalities.

But mostly, I simply want a good story.

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