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.