Gold medalists of Olympic pinning: Official media pins in South Korea available to trade | VailDaily.com

Gold medalists of Olympic pinning: Official media pins in South Korea available to trade

Rob and Gaye Steinke will be bringing Olympic hardware back from South Korea. The Vail couple has been collecting both friends as well as Olympic and World Cup pins for decades.

Among the pins they'll take to South Korea when they leave Thursday, Feb. 8, will be Vail Daily, Steamboat & Today Pilot, The Aspen Times and Park City Record official media pins and dozens of others.

Pin partners

Rob and Gaye stood in line every morning during the 1999 Alpine World Ski Championships in Vail for the limited edition free pins. They did the same thing during the 2015 Alpine World Ski Championships at Beaver Creek.

"There are always free pins, then you trade them," Rob Steinke said. "People don't often want to give them away. They want to get something for them."

They still have those and an ever-growing number of pins from other World Cup events. Generally, Rob Steinke keeps them pinned to his hats.

Recommended Stories For You

They're raiding some of their old hats to make sure they have all the pins they want — and all the pins other pin traders want.

After their Olympic excursion, they'll need more hats.

"It's a lot of fun when you start meeting people," Rob Steinke said. "Even now, years after those World Championship events in Vail, the people who lined up with you every day still remember you. It's a good way to meet good people."

As for the future of their pins, he and Gaye Steinke will trade through their trip to South Korea, and collect a few more.

After that — "Maybe they'll put them in my coffin," he said laughing.

According to pin collector Hal Levin, in Steamboat Springs, tens of thousands of Olympic pins now surface at each games, where they are given away and traded by athletes, sponsors, reporters, spectators and collectors.

"You have to have pins to trade for other pins," Levin said. "A lot of people want to trade for them. It's the biggest non-athletic sport at the Olympics."

Its own Olympic sport

Collecting and trading Olympic pins has become its own sport. In 2018, locals around the region will be represented.

The Vail Daily's Ed Stoner is covering his second Winter Olympics. He was in Sochi for the 2014 Winter Games. Both Stoner and Steamboat Pilot & Today sports editor Joel Reichenberger are in Pyeongchang, South Korea, with pins in their pockets ready to trade.

Halfpipe skiing great Maddie Bowman has a head start on the rest of us. She is already standing in line at customs in South Korea, holding Vail Daily and Park City Record pins.

Bowman burst onto the halfpipe scene in 2012, and into the history books two years later by winning the first Olympic gold medal in women's halfpipe skiing. The South Lake Tahoe native had a season-ending injury in 2015, but she was back in action in 2016, topping podiums around the world. With an Olympic gold medal and seven X Games medals, including four gold, Bowman is one of the most decorated female freeskiers in history. She earned her fourth-consecutive gold at X Games Aspen in 2016 with a run that included back-to-back 900s, and the first switch 900 ever thrown by a female skier in competition.

About our Olympic pins

The Vail Daily's Olympic pin pays homage to South Korea's famous stone pagodas, but with a stars and stripes motif. A golden female ski racer represents two of Vail's Olympic gold medalists, Lindsey Vonn and Mikaela Shiffrin. The figure is captured in a snow globe and embraced by the legendary Tibetan snow creature — the Yeti — who is cheering all Olympians who call Colorado home.

The Steamboat Pilot & Today's pin salutes the tradition of great ski jumpers who've honed their technique at Howelsen Hill, with a nod to the famous pagodas throughout South Korea. The pin also celebrates Steamboat's proud tradition of producing Winter Olympians — 88 and counting.

The Aspen Times pin captures the tone of the Winter Olympics with the familiar color palette found in the Olympic Rings, which form a snowflake surrounding a classic shield featuring Aspen's iconic Maroon Bells.

The Park Record's pin out of Park City, Utah, combines the beauty of the Wasatch Back on the eastern side of the Wasatch Range, the iconic laurel wreath pre-dating Olympic medals at the games in Ancient Greece and a pair of race skis to speed things up.

According to Collectors Weekly, the Olympic pin tradition began with small cardboard badges, which were worn by athletes and officials at the first modern Olympics in 1896. The first souvenir pins were produced for spectators to purchase at the 1912 Stockholm games.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and rwyrick@vaildaily.com.

Local Retail Pin Partners

Pins are $10 each

Eagle: Yeti’s Grind

Edwards: The Bookworm

Avon: Transition Sports

Beaver Creek: Beaver Creek Market

Eagle-Vail: Vail Daily

West Vail: Yellowbelly

Vail Village: Valbruna

Solaris: Yeti’s Grind