Archive for the ‘beijing olympic travel’ Tag

Olympic Pin Exchange

I’m heading to the Olympics next week and one of the great traditions that I am looking forward to taking part in is the Olympic Pin exchange. I am planning on collecting pins from around the world from fellow sports travelers and displaying them here at our Chicago office. I can’t think of a better souvenir. So that got us talking here… how can our clients and staff start exchanging pins if we have no pins to start the exchange with? We know there will be plenty of pins to buy when we get there but they won’t be anything related to us. So we created the first ever Sports Traveler Summer Games Trading Pin! If you purchased a travel package you will get some in your final document package to use to start your own pin collection with the world. See you in Beijing. Read this article I found online about more pin trading information….
See you in Beijing!

Check this out from 

The tradition of trading Olympic pins began in the early days of the Olympic movement, all the way back to 1896 in Athens. In the following years, national team officials wore their Olympic pins to display their nationality.

There are also a variety of officials pins, athlete pins and media pins to identify a person’s status. At the end of the games, the wearers often exchange pins as a way of collecting souvenirs and making new friends.

In the following years, many Olympic partners began designing and selling Olympic pins, helping the tradition to grow and expand. Coca Cola is one of them. The company not only issues pins but has also built the first pin trading center for the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics. Here is David Brooks, vice president of Coca Cola China. 

“The Coca Cola Company for the 1976 Olympics did work to actually create an official pin trading to get the culture started creating pins and inviting not just officials and athletes, but also the spectators.

And the general public had also got involved in pin trading.” The Olympic pin trading culture has become a distinct part of the Olympic Games. And it has grown from Olympics to Olympics. It was very big in Sydney, and also quite popular in Greece. And Mr. Brooks expects more from Beijing in this August.

“For 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, Coka Company will be celebrating our  80th years of continuous Olympic sponsorship. So for us, it’s a very important Olympics. We’re looking forward to a lot of people buying pins, trading pins. And the value for us is in people exchanging, and greeting: ‘Hello, Would you like to trade a pin with me? That creates a great human interaction within people. Where’re you from? How’s your country doing on the Olympics? How do you like Beijing? ‘It gives a chance to break the eyes, and meet somebody else and have a fun, exchange with someone else. I’m looking forward this summer to see lots of scenes of young people, old people, especially people from different countries trading pins with each other, laughing with each other, having a fun time, because of the small link and small bridge that pin trading provided to people.”

Because of China’s large population of people who are passionate about the Olympic Games, the beverage Company has designed a series of pins with Chinese flavor. One of the new pins depicts the “Bird Nest” National Stadium.

Birds Nest Pin Set

Birds Nest Pin Set

“We have a very special agreement with the companies that own the Bird Nest National stadium, where the opening and close ceremony will be held. We have purchased the left of the steel to create Olympic pins. So for the first time every people can buy Olympic pin that is actually made of the same steel that the national stadium is made of. It will have a lot of souvenir value and monumental value for people.”

For the Beijing Olympics, the company will place many pin trading locations around Beijing and China.

“For the first time ever, we’re going to have a Coca Cola pin trading center inside the Olympic Village where all the athletes and officials live, right next to the main Olympic area in Beijing. There will be a small pin trading center where the athletes can buy the Water Pins to learn about the environment, learn about how to be better environmental ambassadors when they go back to their country. And that for us is a very important first step of bringing the pin trading and bringing these messages to the athletes as well.”

David hopes that through the Olympic Pin programs in China, the values and culture of Olympic Pin Trading will be better understood by the Chinese people.


My Beijing Olympic Preview Tour

I have just returned from a week long preview trip of Beijing for the upcoming Olympic Games. It was truly the best trip of my life – and trust me, I have been on a lot of trips. But Beijing is by far the most interesting place I’ve seen. I wanted to take a moment to write on our Sports Traveler Blog to let everyone know about some of the great sights that I saw as I previewed our tours for the upcoming Olympics in August.

Our onsite partners for this event are fantastic. Already, they have everything planned and are ready for our Sports Traveler clients to arrive. I previewed our tours to the Great Wall and I took a tour of the Forbidden City. I even took a Hutong Tour and had tea with an older Chinese couple in their home – something that I think everyone should make time to go do.

The scene in Beijing is something special. It’s modern and old world. Crowded yet you will find peaceful parks to sit and relax. The food is excellent. I have many restaurant selections that I will list on our site in the coming days. I’m not a fan of ‘Scary Chinese Food’, like the miscellaneous animal parts in bowl. Beijing has become so Western that I never had to worry about eating something scary. I had Spanish Tapas, Brazilian food, and Asian Fusion to name a few.  

That said I have to say my experience in Beijing was so great because I was part of a tour – I was never without access to an English speaking guide. This city is not one that an American can just show up and try to manage by themselves. Coming to Beijing really cemented in my mind the reason we have decided to sell the kind of tour we are offering for this year’s Olympics. You cannot fully enjoy this massive city solo. I met many American’s on the airplane ride home from Beijing that did not share in the same positive experiences that I had. The reason was because they were not on a tour during their stay in Beijing.Our tours allow our travelers the opportunity to navigate Beijing safely and with ease. English is not widely spoken in Beijing but because I was being guided through the city this was a novelty to me, not a detriment. If you have booked a Deluxe or Elite level tour with us you will find your experience to the be the same as mine. I really feel bad for the tourist’s that are attempting to take on this event by themselves and not be on a tour.

I also took a look at all the hotel properties that we have available for travelers to reserve. Many of them are brand new and are just now opening. All were excellent. I really liked the Courtyard by Marriott Beijing and the Novotel Peace Hotel for those looking to find a nice quality hotel at a good price. These hotels are close to Wangfujing Street – by the way, this place is going to be where it is at during the Games. Also nearby are the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square. The hotel that blew me away was the Marco Polo Parkside. I can’t express how fantastic this hotel is. If you are a luxury traveler, this is where you must stay. The spa is the most unbelievable setting I have ever seen. Every detail is taken care of at this hotel. It’s also a great place to drop in and catch a nice bite to eat in between events because it’s within walking distance to the Olympic Green. You can actually see the National Stadium from most of the rooms.

It’s not too late to make reservations. Some newspapers are writing that we are in our last minute stages of booking this trip. It’s not so. We have airfare blocks still available for much cheaper than you can buy online plus we have plenty of availability at the best hotels in town – mostly American and western owned, clean and personally inspected by our group.

I am looking forward to returning to Beijing in August and meeting all of our clients that are traveling with us. I have a million stories and memories already from this preview trip. I invite you to join us and make your own memories in August.