Thousands of miles away from the Sochi Olympics, on a coast far more popular than the Sochi, Russia shoreiine, the Olympin Collectors Club held its annual show in Los Angeles, CA on the last weekend in July.
Olympic enthusiasts from all over the world convened to not only show off their Olympic memorabilia, but to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Summer Olympic Games held here in 1984. During this July 25-27 weekend, these Olympic die-hards bartered and sold Olympic torches, clothing, programs, and of course, the ever-popular pins!
Since its formation in 1982, the Olympin organization has relied on its volunteer base to spur interest in the Olympics through its web site, newsletters and shows like these. Heading this three-day showcase were Olympin Show Organizing Committee members Bud Kling and Pam Litz, local residents with a long-standing passion for everything Olympic.
Thanks to their advanced planning and penchant for detail, this show was a huge success. Several dozen Olympic memorabiliasts from Europe, Asia, and North America descended onto the Los Angeles Courtyard by Marriott to display their Olympic collections, and bask in their memories of past Winter and Summer Olympic Games. “We sold out the conference room with 37 tables,” said Kling.
These die-hard organizers also attracted three past U.S. Olympians to join the fun: Mike O’Hara (1964 Indoor Volleyball) and Michael Lenard (1984 Team Handball). And at the Friday evening banquet, keynote speaker Anita DeFrantz (1976 Rowing bronze medalist) wowed the crowd about her past Olympic experiences, her current role at the philanthropic LA84 Foundation, and her esteemed position on the International Olympic Committee’s board.
Throughout the weekend, hundreds of Olympic fans wandered up and down the rows of tables - eager to trade, buy, or simply reminisce about their fondest memories at these largest of sport showcases. The energetic Litz, a passionate pin trader, reflected on her important organizing role. “It was really fun planning an Olympic gathering for fans from different countries. You don’t get this opportunity that often.”