London Olympics 2012: The Art of Swapping Olympic Pins

17 days of glory

London Olympics 2012 brings together world class athletes for what is billed as 17 days of glory. Spectators have traveled to London from every corner of the globe to cheer as their nation’s Olympic soccer teams, sprinters, archers, rowers, equestrians, basketball and swimming teams compete for gold. They’ve also come to shop and swap.

For spectators who want to bring home a commemorative piece of London Olympics 2012 the official Olympics mega-store stands ready in the Olympic Village. With over 2,500 items, there is bound to be a T-shirt, a mug or a keychain to suit each souvenir shopper’s fancy. The store carries 1992 Dream Team jerseys alongside the 2012 Lebron, Kobe, Chris and Carmelo versions. The Olympics store has left no stone unturned to make souvenir shopping easy – in partnership with UPS,  Olympic shoppers can ship their loot home and bypass the agony of additional baggage fees or not enough suitcase and too much memorabilia.

Olympic basketball small London Olympics 2012: The Art of Swapping Olympic Pins

London Olympics 2012 brings together world class athletes for what is billed as 17 days of glory.

Nothing speaks more to Olympic memorabilia than the collecting and trading of Olympic pins. They began as cardboard disks to identify judges, athletes and Olympic officials. At the 1924 Paris Olympics, athletes and officials began to swap pins as gestures of friendship and goodwill. Soon after, spectators joined the process and for some, pin trading became as popular as the games themselves. At the 1988 Calgary Winter Games, Coca Cola set up the first pin trading center. Now, pin collecting clubs exist worldwide. Some collectors travel to Olympic cities, not for the sporting events, but for the pins alone.  Swapping and trading has earned the title of the “Number One Olympic Spectator Sport.”

And speaking of Olympic shopping, even the iconic Harrods of London, one of the world’s best known department stores, has given a nod to the Olympic spirit its own unique way – honoring British fashion icons Alexander McQueen, Stella McCartney, Charlotte Olympia and others with the title of “Gold Medal” designers.   They’ve even brought the Olympic theme to the beauty counter, celebrating the “Olympiad’s body.”  Top on the list of Harrods Olympic promotion is its Olympic Package – “an exclusive package with all the finest elements of Harrods in mind” – breakfast at Harrods before the games begin, a tea tasting workshop, spa treatments and a store tour. This might be worth more in memories than a courtside seat at the gold medal basketball game!

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