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Olympic Pin Trading at Rio! 20 Years of Memories of 1996 Atlanta Olympics Pin Trading

Updated on August 13, 2019
Cyndi10 profile image

The former executive director of a successful nonprofit agency now content specialist, Cynthia writes about a variety of researched topics.

Collecting pins during Olympics1996
Collecting pins during Olympics1996 | Source
This writer wore the spoils of 1996 Olympic pin trading on her Olympic hat.
This writer wore the spoils of 1996 Olympic pin trading on her Olympic hat. | Source

What's Happened to Pin Trading Since the Atlanta Olympics 1996

With each Olympics, there is a resurgence of interest in Olympic pin trading. The London 2012 Olympic Games naturally sparked interest among Atlanta Olympic 1996 pin trading enthusiasts, who celebrated the 20th Anniversary of the Games in 2016. Interest in pin trading was strong for the Sochi Games and the London Games and it was just as strong at the Rio Summer Games Olympics, full twenty years since the Atlanta Olympic 1996 Games.

Just as the athletes limber up and prepare for their event, so do the pin traders start their preparations for trading. In some ways, especially for those who are unable to attend the Rio Olympic games, it is a vicarious way to experience the adrenaline rush that may be similar to what the athletes experience when they are about to compete. The difference is that pin traders are excited when they get their hands on a rare pin or when they finally find one to finish out their special collection of, say, Izzys, the Atlanta Games mascot. That is their finish line.

Until the Atlanta Olympics 1996 and the excitement of pin trading at that event, it never occurred to me that any such activities were taking place at the games - anywhere or at anytime. I guess I must have been sheltered, but I found there are pin traders all over the world who have traded at many of the Olympic Games. Hubpages writer, Peggy W., wrote about her pin trading experiences at the Barcelona games in her article Our Olympic Pin Trading Collection ~ 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Spain.

Olympic pin trading is an infectious and addictive activity. During the London Games, one Olympic pin trader living in Los Angeles had 70,000 pins he is prepared to put up for trading. He uses them as collatoral as he searches for pins to add to his 10,000 pin personal collection. I suppose he would be considered rich in pins and I imagine he may have formed his interest when the games were in Los Angeles. One can only speculate.

Another pin trader, or pin head as they are sometimes called, lives in Metro Atlanta and, as of this writing, has over 1700 pins in her collection.

Hat, shoes and pins from Olympics 1996 - Atlanta
Hat, shoes and pins from Olympics 1996 - Atlanta | Source

Olympic 1996 Pin Trading: Source of Memories

As the Olympic Games begin in Brazil, let's hear it for the pin traders and pin collectors that are also gearing up. Interest in pin trading always peaks during and immediately after the Games.

Of course, most of the trading and selling will take place in Brazil, but a great deal of activity will also pop up in Atlanta, even though it has been twenty years since the Olympics 1996. In fact, the excitement of the trading will continue even after the games with pin trading events like the Olympins Trading Fair found at, that was held in Altanta in September, 2012. This will be the chance for anyone who collected while at previous games to add their prizes to their collections and proudly show them off.

As Southerners, we hold onto memories and if you're an Atlantan old enough to remember, you probably remember where you were when the announcement came that Atlanta had been awarded the Olympic 1996 games. You could hear the city give a collective whoop and a parade down Peachtree Street began.

Trading pins, finally finding that elusive pin you've been trying to acquire, is the closest we will come to the excitement of having the games in Atlanta again. It's one way we can relive those "glory days" of nonstop games and activity. The city was overrun with sports enthusiasts from all around the world. Nearly everyone had pins to trade and we were actively collecting them.

Centennial Olympic Park was the site of much of the serious trading activity. You could go to the Park make a few new friends, find the brick you bought for posterity and trade, trade trade.

The Park is still a popular site in Atlanta. The Olympic Ring Fountain is still there and an eternal flame burns in Centennial Park in memory Alice Hawthorne who was the victim of a pipe bomb at the site July 27, 1996.

Trading at the Rio Olympic Games

The traders will surely gather outside the Rio Olympic Gates or maybe some other vantage point. It's hard to know where traders will decide to carry on the most business, but regardless of where it is, serious trading will be taking place, usually starting before the games officially began. Even marginal traders like me can become hooked by the sheer excitement of scoring a long searched for trade. Coca Cola pins are my favorite.

At the opening of the Rio Summer Games in August 2016, active Olympic pin traders will gather at Atlanta's Olympic Centennial Park to begin active trading again. It will be twenty-four years since the Olympic Games came to Atlanta. Pin traders will watch the children play in the fountains and reminisce about the festivities and the triumphs of hosting the Olympic 1996 Games in Atlanta while they indulge in some serious Olympic pin trading during the Rio Olympic games.

No matter the year, pin trading hits fever pitch during the games. Rio 2016 was no different. Next? Korea.

Tell the truth, are you a pin trader (a pin head)?

See results

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2012 Cynthia B Turner


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