Pin collectors set new Olympic records

LONDON, England   ●    Forget the sporting exploits! The big competition at London 2012 is who can get their hands on the best commemorative Olympic pins.

Rare specimens are much sought after by enthusiasts from near and far in a collecting obsession that stretches back decades for some.

“It is just a wonderful way to meet people from all over the world and chat to them,” said Ross Baxter, who started collecting at the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary where he was given a pin as a volunteer.

“It is just a terrific hobby and it is a huge part of every Olympic games. It is huge.”

Like any successful Olympic competitor, collectors need stamina – and that means attending Games after Games after Games…

“It is summer, winter, summer, winter, summer, winter,” said pin aficionado Irina Dzidziguri from Russia whose first Olympics was Moscow in 1980.

She insists it is a hobby that all sectors of society can enjoy, saying she can trade with anyone “from a simple person to a princess or a president.”

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