Two Firsts in One. 1978.

1978 World Championships at The Netropolitan Museum of Figure Skating Pins

For the “old guard” of figure skating, the 1978 World Figure Skating Championships in Ottawa, Canada, perhaps can be best remembered for the first triple Axel to be landed in competition. Vern Taylor of Canada owns that honor. But there was another, less-well-known first that occurred at the same event, and it has to do with figure skating pins.

The 1978 World Championships is believed to be the first world event to be commemorated with a pin specifically by the host city. In the gallery below are four pins from the Ottawa event, including the city pin, which could be considered to be the most interesting of the four.

But let’s start with the main logo pin, a diminutive edition on a silver-colored base metal and measuring approximately 5/8″ x 3/4″ (1.6 cm x 1.9 cm). The event logo, a highly stylized and sleek figure skating form in blue, commands center stage on the pin. A two-color background—a rich red and a bright white—encloses the skater, and a blue border around the pin neatly frames everything. To the right of the skater, in stacked form, are the event name, year, and location: “World’s 78 Ottawa.” The peculiar use of “World’s” (in the possessive form) seems to be a Canadian style of some sort, at least for figure skating pins, since the same use appeared on World Championships pins from 1972 Calgary and 1984 Ottawa. It has been noted by some collectors that use of the possessive form is simply a shortened way of expressing “World’s Championship,” or meaning that the championship belongs to the world (and, it must be noted, World’s Championship is a term that was sometimes used in the past, although many decades before the 1970s). There could be historical reasoning to support use of the possessive form, but to most observers it instead appears to be a grammatical error.

The 1978 World Championships is believed to be the first world event to be commemorated with a pin specifically by the host city.

Next in the gallery are two large pins made for and given only to officials and competitors at the event. Each measures approximately 1-5/16″ x 1-5/8″ (3.3 cm x 4.1 cm). The pins are identical in design to the main logo pin, but notice that the official’s pin on the left is on a gold-colored base metal while the one on the right is on a silver-colored base metal. By 1978, it was becoming less common for events to issue special pins to officials, competitors, media, guests, coaches, and others. Historically, these special pins were larger or more complex versions of the logo pin, with or without a special designation.

And now to the city of Ottawa pin, consisting of the shield from the city’s coat of arms; a contoured middle section that contains the event location, name, and year; and a suspended, old-style skate blade with curled toe. The pin is on a gold-colored base metal and measures approximately 9/16″ x 1-3/4″ (1.4 cm x 4.4 cm). Like the other event pins, the city pin uses the curious possessive form of Worlds but adds a hyphen to the mix: “World’s-78.” No one can say that these pins are not quirky.

Enjoy Two Firsts in One. 1978.


1978 World Figure Skating Championships Pin Gallery

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  • Copyright-protected image. Do not download or use without express written consent of the copyright holder.
  • Copyright-protected image. Do not download or use without express written consent of the copyright holder.

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