Olympic athletes, spectators share goodwill with memorabilia


MISSOULA, Mont. - The Olympic movement is one of the largest movements of peace and goodwill among nations. The sharing of gifts, most often pins, is one way spectators take part in sharing that.
If you are going to Sochi, collectors urge to you take some pins to trade with people from across the world. Montana and UM Grizzly pins are popular.
"They went over great because there are people, from Japan especially, who knew who the Grizzlies were," explains Tom Schmidt about a past Olympic trip his family took.
The exchanges started as quiet gestures of respect and goodwill between athletes on the field, when the ancient Olympics were revived to the modern games in the late 1800s.
Schmidt says, "They were trading the nametags that people were wearing on their uniforms. They didn't have team uniforms at that time. So, they just had little pins to identify who they were and people started trading them. Well, then, somebody got the bright idea, ‘Why don't we make up a bunch of pins so that they can pass them out as a goodwill to people from other teams?' All of a sudden, the spectators got onto it and said, ‘Hey, that's something for us to do.'"
Now, pins, cards and patches of favorite athletes or sports can be worth hundreds of dollars.
Worth also is based on craftsmanship and rarity. Buyers have offered Schmidt upward of $600 for sought-after pins.
Schmidt says, "What's really getting hot are the people in those extreme sports -- anybody doing the really way out there, super tricks. What a lot of the purists will say is it's not something that should be in the Olympics, those are the sports getting all of the attention. "
"So our Maggie Voisin card might be worth some money someday," we asked. "Yes, absolutely."
Schmidt say, you don't have to focus on the value of the items. If you are going to the games, you can take inexpensive pins to trade just for the enjoyment of it. He says trading sites are easy to find in the host city.

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