Last Updated on May 8, 2021 by Netropolitan Museum
The Allegheny River and the Monongahela River flow into downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and join to form the Ohio River. To get around Pittsburgh and vicinity with all those rivers requires bridges. And Pittsburgh has 446 bridges, more than any other city in the world. A claim to fame if ever there was one. But nearly 40 years ago now, Pittsburgh had a claim to fame with elite figure skating when it hosted the 1983 U.S. Figure Skating Championships at the now-demolished Pittsburgh Civic Arena. This was the event where ice dancer Judy Blumberg (partnered by Michael Seibert) famously bellyflopped at end of the couple’s free dance but still received a slew of 6.0s. Figure skating was a reputation sport back then, as this now-historical footnote reminds us. (And taking nothing away from Blumberg and Seibert, by the way, who were outstanding.)
Another three things connected to Pittsburgh, like the rivers, are the three pins issued for the event and for sale to the public: two logo pins, in different sizes, and a mascot pin featuring Patches the Panda. Up to that time, no other national event had issued more than two pins, so this was a first, and the pins are fine mementos of a good, if not particularly memorable, event.
The smallest of the logo pins is notable for the diminutive size and even today remains one of the smallest, if not the smallest, pins issued for a U.S. Championships.
One of the pins, the smallest of the logo pins, is notable for the diminutive size and even today remains one of the smallest, if not the smallest, pins issued for a U.S. Championships. On a gold-color base metal with a rich gold and complementary black fill, it measures approximately 5/8″ x 3/8″ (1.6 cm x 1 cm) and is rhomboid in shape, something not usually seen. The larger logo pin, in the same shape but executed in black and white fills, measures approximately 1-1/2″ x 7/8″ (3.8 cm x 2.2 cm). On each pin, a silhouette of pairs skaters (perhaps ice dancers) with “Nationals” beneath graces the right side of the pin while “Pittsburgh ’83” is the left. Like the championship itself, the logo pins are not particularly memorable, but the shape at least helps to add an element of creativity.
The mascot pin featuring Patches is in the same rich gold and black fill as the small logo pin. On a gold-color metal base, the pin measures approximately 3/4″ diameter (1.9 cm). Patches, in black and white with neck scarf flowing in the wind, attempts a spiral but falls short of top form for the move, looking a bit more like he is about to topple over. Around the circumference of the pin are the location and event: “Pittsburgh, 1983 Nationals.” As has been noted in earlier blogs, use of shortened or colloquial forms of “U.S. Figure Skating Championships” were commonly used in the era. In this case, “Nationals” denotes the 1983 event.
Enjoy Three Rivers Run Through It. 1983.
1983 U.S. Championships Gallery
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