Tuesday, August 23, 2016

OUTSIDE THE BOX - Olympic Pins

To say that the past couple weeks have been a blur would be an understatement.  It's not everyday that one gets a last minute invitation to go to Rio for the Olympics.

Yup....you read that right - I just got back from spending 8 days in Brazil representing my workplace (and Canada) at Rio 2016.  And while it was not a working trip, it was extremely planned and executed as opposed to if I were heading there on my own.

I got the invite late in July and immediately had to see if my passport was up to date (it was not).  I also had to get a few needles to protect me for being Zikafied.  A few briefings at work, some Canada garb at the store and I was off.

My work in the equestrian world meant that we (about 50 people in total) would be taking in the show jumping events - 4 days in total.  That's a lot of jumping....but it's not like I'm going to complain.  Additionally, I was able to check out boxing, wrestling, table tennis and field hockey.  It was a full slate of events.

One of the things I wanted to try when I was there was the long-standing tradition of pin trading (the collector in me couldn't resist).  I bought a lot of about 50 or so pins here in town (mostly Calgary 88 pins) and was off to see how I'd make out.  Most days didn't really allow time to do any trading as we were shuttled in and out of the venues pretty quickly (we had other engagements lined up) but I did manage a couple solid outings.

It all started with this Rio 2016 CBC media pin that I received from my supervisor.  He was doing work on the CBC broadcast and had a couple extra pins that he knew I'd appreciate.  This one is a definite keeper.

Here's the total haul.  Thirty-three new pins I brought home as a reminder of my time in Rio.  I really had no expectations on what type of pins I was receiving...all I knew is that if I could trade - I would.  Many of these trades were with the volunteers that were strewn about the venues.  They would typically have a few pins on their lanyards so it made it quite easy to pull off a deal.

I had my pins on a scarf that made it easily identifiable that I was a "pin guy".  A lot of the locals just wanted to come up and take a look as they had never seen anything like it.  Tons of fun.

I do have some pins that are more favourites over others.  This one has the Olympic mascot (Vinicius) which is a representation of all the animals in Brazil.  Born out of an "explosion of joy" when the Games were awarded to Rio back in 2009.

I don't know if I was supposed to take trade for this pin.....it's says "workforce team" and is likely an equivalent to a name pin that workers normally wear.  I had no idea at the time and the guy was more than willing to trade it.  It's thick as heck and really well made (which is why it appealed to me).

I like that I was able to land this one as it represents the many people that I made trades with.

All the elements of what we were there for....Brazil flag, Rio 2016 and horses.  A lot of the pins I traded for were not really of high quality, but I could care less.  I just wanted something different.

This one is really different.  I have no clue what this is but I would guess it is Swedish in origin.  I was going for anything and everything different and this was that.

Samsung must have put out a complete set of olympic sport pins and I was able to land a few.  Anytime I saw one I would ask to trade.  I like that I was able to pick up the badminton one as it reminds me of my nephew and I playing on Sunday mornings.

Lastly, the future site of the Olympics in 2020.  I have no doubt that these Games will creep up quickly.

So what did I gain from the pin trading experience?  There's a real joy in sharing a passion of collecting and trading with people who might not fully understand the process.  Getting them excited about giving and receiving with no other agenda or goal other than to share in the experience.  While there were some people out there looking to trade in order to flip on eBay (and yes....I know they are there - I don't even have to look) I am excited to keep these pins (and the other mementos from this amazing experience) as a reminder of one of the most incredible trips I have ever taken.

And that's worth a ton.


  1. Yeah, it's most definitely Swedish. Svenska ridsportf├Ârbundet = Swedish equestrian federation.

  2. Velkom bak.

    that's eastern Transylvanian for Howdy.