It’s been said that Olympic pin trading in the Number 1 spectator sport in the world. I think that’s true. At the Games, you’re so in the moment, trying to remember what you’ve seen and done, and it’s very easy to get caught up in the frenzy of pin trading.
Like Coca-Cola, pin trading really is a great way to bring two people from different cultures together. You don’t even have to share a common language, because you actually can just point to the pin you want – just like sharing a Coke.
There’s a great complete history of Coca-Cola and pin trading on our website, and it would take hours for me to tell you everything here, but I wanted to give you a few highlights.
We created the first Coca-Cola Official Olympic Pin Trading Center at the 1988 Games in Calgary. More than 17,000 visitors gathered daily – not bad for our first center!
In 1988 in Seoul, Korea, Coke sponsored two pin trading centers and a nationwide contest among Korea’s 11.7 million students to design the first-ever commemorative pin for the Opening Ceremony.
At least 1.2 million pins were traded during the 1992 Winter Games in Albertville, France. Later that year, at the 1992 Summer Games in Barcelona, Spain, the number of visitors to the pin trading centers increased to over 500,000, representing more than 70 countries, and more than 2 million pins were traded at the Coca-Cola Official Olympic Pin Trading Centers and “PinMobiles.” (Back then, the Winter and Summer Olympics took place in the same year; they weren’t spread out like they are now.)
Coke continued to help pin traders find a good “home” at every Olympics since 1988. In Athens in 2004, the Coca-Cola Official Pin Trading Center made its 10th straight appearance at the Games.
This month in China, pin trading continues, with a series of Coke pin trading activities in four places in Beijing. You can see more about the Pin Trading Center for the Beijing Games on the Coca-Cola China site. You can view the site in English by selecting the option in the upper right corner!
The photo I’ve included here is of our wall of pins in the World of Coca-Cola in Atlanta. Be careful once you start collecting them or you soon could have this many! And check back here for more information about Coke and the Olympics.
More on Journey
- Meet Shirley Hasley: The Accidental Coke Model Who Helped Make History
- Andy Warhol and Coca-Cola: From Classic to New Coke and Back Again
- Disney and Coca-Cola Archivists Swap Stories on Shared History
- ‘What is Coca-Cola?’ Why the Brand Has Appeared on Jeopardy! 200+ Times
- How Coca-Cola Brands Make it to the Big (or Small) Screen