Olympic pin fever almost as exciting as actual games

CCTV News

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Pin-trading fever has fully beset this year’s host city, with some regarding it as the number one spectator sport of the Olympics.

CCTV’s Lucrecia Franco reports on this quadrennial trend from Rio de Janeiro.

Olympic pin fever almost as exciting as actual games

Olympic pin fever almost as exciting as actual games

Pin-trading fever has fully beset this year's host city, with some regarding it as the number one spectator sport of the Olympics.

Olympic athletes in Rio are eager to win gold, silver, and bronze medals.

But they are also competing for another trophy — one that doesn’t require training, but has fierce competition from everyone at the games.

CCTV America’s Frances Kuo on her favorite Olympic memory

At improvised swap shops set up outside the Olympic park, collectors from around the globe haggle and trade souvenir pins commemorating Olympic venues, sports, and countries that have been released at every Olympic game for more than 100 years.

Bud Kling from the United States has been collecting pins since 1984, from both summer and winter Games. He now owns more than 25,000 pins.

“So it’s been 14 Olympic Games and four Youth Games, so eighteen total,” Kling said of his latest bounty.

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Known affectionately as “pin heads” many collectors are members of the Olympic Collectors Club, a group that doesn’t allow money to be involved in trades. One can only trade pins for pins.

“It is my first pin experience and I think it’s great to swap pins and meet people,” Brazilian Volunteer Jairo Santana said.

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Some collectors say they prefer trading to watching the games.

Veteran collector Dan Baker from the United States said he hasn’t missed an Olympics since 1980, but doesn’t buy tickets to get inside anymore.

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“I might miss that special pin that I have been looking for the whole Olympics because I am spending my time watching the games,” Baker said.

More than 800 new pins have been created for this year’s Rio Olympics.