In early March, when the 1983 World Figure Skating Championships were held in Helsinki, Finland, it was still very much winter. Snow blanketed the Northern European capital and the inlets of the Baltic Sea were frozen over, allowing locals (and daring visitors) to walk freely over them as makeshift shortcuts to other destinations. Many who visited Finland for the 1983 World Championships felt the country was cold and gray and uninspired, unlike its more glamorous neighbors on the main European continent. The Curator of The Netropolitan attended the event and disagreed with the findings of others, instead seeing and enjoying both the natural beauty and cultural differentiation of Finland. And the cheeseburger at the now-defunct Carrolls was delicious.
The organizing committee of the 1983 World Championships could have done more with design of the pin issued to commemorate the event and perhaps could have looked to Finland itself for greater inspiration.
The organizing committee of the 1983 World Championships could have done more with design of the pin issued to commemorate the event and perhaps could have looked to Finland itself for greater inspiration. The country is full of history and boasts a distinct European flavor, even within the Scandinavian region where it lies—from the tens of thousands of small and large lakes to the wonders of Lapland (think midnight sun and Northern Lights) to the national obsession with saunas and coffee to the unusual language to the beautiful and abundant birch trees. Although none of that seems to have been used as inspiration, the pin still marks an important World Championships that saw the continued dominance of Scott Hamilton, the emergence of Katarina Witt as a world contender (although placing only fourth in Helsinki), and the progression in ice dance led by Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean. And okay, no one wants to see a sauna or a cup of coffee on a figure skating pin anyhow, but why not “Taitoluistelun MM-kilpailut”? (According to research, that’s “World Figure Skating Championships” written in Finnish.)
So attendees of the 1983 World Championships were left with an ordinary pin that featured an ordinary design covered with an epoxy dome. The 1-1/4″ x 1-1/2″ (3.175 cm x 3.81 cm) pin features rounded corners and a colorful palette of blue, white, and red. At the top of the pin are the event year and name: “1983 World Figure Skating Championships.” A heart is used as a separator between the year and the word “World,” an element borrowed from the identity of the Finnish Skating Association in use at the time. A large, stylized skate blade in blue dominates the lower portion of the pin, which also features the location: “Helsinki-Finland.” Oddly, Helsinki and Finland are punctuated with a hyphen. The unique and pronounced serifs of the typeface used for the lettering lend an informal, charming feel. If nothing else, the pin spoke to the look and feel of the 1980s.
It wasn’t only the Finns in 1983 who failed to produce a souvenir lapel pin worthy of a World Figure Skating Championship. Starting with the 1979 World Championships in Vienna and continuing through present day, a “death spiral” in both creativity and production value of pins has been seen. Looking back and compared to pins issued for major events today, the 1983 World Championships pin is practically a masterpiece. That’s how The Curator of the The Netropolitan sees it.
Enjoy Finland, Finland, Finland! 1983. Also, enjoy this 2005 performance of the Fisch Schlapping Song from Monty’s Python’s Spamalot. You can learn so much about Finland.