1981 and 1982 Skate America at The Netropolitan Museum of Figure Skating Pins
In October 1981, a new annual figure skating competition—Skate America—was launched in North America and was contested in Lake Placid, New York. Although Skate America had officially arrived, it had roots going back to the 1979 Flaming Leaves International, which served as the official test event for the new Olympic Field House arena built for the 1980 Olympic Winter Games, also held in Lake Placid. Skate America would return to Lake Placid in 1982.
Once in a while, figure skating pins made for different events end up being similar, and for the first two Skate America events, the pins are nearly identical in design, with both versions incorporating the original event pictogram—pairs skaters in red and blue gliding on an outside edge. The main difference between the pins comes in the treatment of “Skate America,” with the wording on the 1982 pin being smaller in size and in a different font. Both are in blue lettering on a gold background,
Once in a while, figure skating pins made for different events end up being similar, and for the first two Skate America events, the pins are nearly identical in design, with both versions incorporating the original event pictogram.
At the center of each pin, the pictogram dominates the design, with “Skate America” tucked below and to the left. The event location and year appear along the right-hand edge, rotated 90 degrees: “Lake Placid ’81” or “Lake Placid ’82.” Notice that the 1981 event featured both a dated and undated pin while the 1982 event featured only a dated pin. For both years, the pins measure approximately 1-3/16″ x 7/8″ (3 cm x 2.2 cm) and are executed in enamel on a gold-colored base metal. A red, white, and blue color palette harkens the patriotism of America.
There is some mystery surrounding the pins. In 1982, while attending Skate America, The Curator of The Netropolitan purchased an undated version of the pin at a souvenir shop on Main Street and a dated version at the arena. It is likely that the undated pin was originally made to commemorate the 1981 event and was simply leftover stock for sale. Skate America would move on from Lake Placid after 1982 and not return to the Adirondack village until 2009.
Enjoy this week’s figure skating pins blog: In the Beginning. 1981–1982.
(This is an edited edition of a blog titled “Pre-Grand Prix. 1981–1982.” originally published January 2, 2020.)
1981, 1982 Skate America Figure Skating Pins Gallery
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