1987 US Figure Skating Championships Pin: Of Architecture and Foundation.

Profile: Lapel Pin – 1987 US Figure Skating Championships, Tacoma, Washington

Reviewing the history of lapel pins issued for United States national championships through 1990, there is only one to emerge that blends the shape of the venue with elements of figure skating. It’s an unusual approach, to be sure, to feature the venue as the central element of a pin design, yet it is seen in the 1987 US Figure Skating Championships pin. Held in Tacoma, Washington, in January 1987, the event also can claim another fact about pins: there was no mascot pin, something done every year since 1982. Although a mascot—a forgettable duck—did preside over the event, it’s probably best the web-footed friend wasn’t memorialized in a pin.

The Tacoma Dome, venue for the 1987 US Figure Skating Championships, was memorialized on the main pin from the event, with its massive exterior shape slightly reshaped yet expertly blended with the representations of three different compulsory figures: the bracket, the three, and the loop. The overall effect is quite nice. You might say it was the blending of a building’s architecture with figure skating’s foundation.1

The bracket tracing forms the main outline of the dome, with the turn coming at the structure’s apex, while the three and the loop serve to segment and fill the inner portion to create visual interest. Tucked inside the tight inner turn of the loop is the event year: abbreviated to “87.” On a shiny gold-color base metal, the pin is two different beautiful blues and a green, earthy tones that directly reference the proximity of Tacoma on Puget Sound and the local forested areas. The tracings and lettering in gold provide high contrast against the colors. Along the bottom, in all capital letters, is the event name: “U.S. Figure Skating Championships.” The 1987 championships was among the first to use the formal event name on the pin, rather than “Nationals” or another shortened form. The pin made for the 1986 US Figure Skating Championships took use of the formal name one step further and spelled out “United States.”

The Tacoma Dome, venue for the 1987 US Figure Skating Championships, was memorialized on the main pin from the event.

This Tacoma pin is also unusual in that it does not include the city name or other location information. Today, nearly 36 years after the event, one would need to look up the location of the championship since the shape of the pin simply is not enough, other than for some locals, to easily identify the location as Tacoma. The pin measures approximately 1‑1/4″ x 5/8″ (3.2 cm x 1.6 cm).

Enjoy this week’s figure skating pins blog: 1987 US Figure Skating Championships Pin: Of Architecture and Foundation. And be sure to read the museum story for more information about figure skating pins.

1Some would argue that compulsory figures were never the foundation of figure skating, but they would be wrong about that.

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