Beijing says goodbye to the Winter Olympics

Trading and collecting pins has been hugely popular at the Beijing Winter Olympics, with volunteers, athletes and media all battling to get the best collection before the Games end.

Displaying the pin collection on the lanyard which holds the Olympic accreditation ID is a way to invite others to trade.

Curating the best collection means a variety of team pins, official volunteer pins and media company pins.

The trading is always popular at the Olympics, but it seems to have taken off even more in Beijing — perhaps because of the limited social interactions due to the restrictions within the closed loop.

The rarest team pins are the most sought after, with Saudi Arabia and Haiti among the favorites, given they only have one athlete from each country at the Games as both countries make their Winter Olympic debut in 2022.

Norway’s was also in demand, given the country topped the medal table at the Games.

Topical pins are also popular, including the Russian Olympic Committee pin, a nod to the news headlines of the Games that have been dominated by the controversy around the positive drugs test by 15-year-old figure skater Kamila Valieva.

For a rare or sought-after pin, people often offer multiple pins in return. 

There are etiquette rules to pin trading which are displayed on a white board at the Main Media Centre (MMC) in Beijing. All pins should be Olympic-related, and any exchanges should be “voluntary and friendly.”

In the last week of the Games, the Beijing 2022 volunteers in particular have begun hustling to improve their collections, approaching anyone wearing a pin collection to request pins or to trade them.

The gold and red CNN pins were very popular, with some athletes saying that is because CNN is the only English news channel available on the hotel televisions within the bubble.