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Athletes trade pins and make friends

July 20, 2010


Minnesota women’s basketball players are proud of the pins they collect from fellow athletes.
Photo: Brittany Guindon, University of Nebraska-Lincoln


Volunteer Pam Pedersen shows off the bracelet given to her by a Louisiana basketball athlete.
Photo: Brittany Guindon, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Pins adorn many of the hats and GEICO ID lanyards of the athletes, coaches and volunteers participating in the 2010 Special Olympics USA National Games. It remains a Special Olympics tradition to collect and trade pins between teams. Participants say it is a fun way to meet each other and make new friends.

Many of the Wisconsin athletes wear hats for their pins, while others use bags or the lanyards around their necks. No matter where the pins are attached, each athlete seems to have plenty.

The officials have 2010 Special Olympics event pins to trade with the athletes, and the teams have pins to represent their states. Each player on the Minnesota women’s basketball team, for example, had 19 pins to give out, and some players have already run out.

None of the volunteers started out with pins, yet several sport them. Volunteer Pam Pedersen said that many of the athletes stop to chat with her, so she’ll ask for a pin.

“I’m trying to catch them from coaches though. I feel bad getting them from athletes because I have nothing to trade them for,” Pedersen said.

To go with her pins, an athlete from Louisiana gave Pedersen a bracelet (photo above). The exchange of pins is one way athletes from all over the nation and volunteers from Nebraska are getting to know each other.

Story: Sierra Frauen, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

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