Last Updated on August 12, 2023 by Netropolitan Museum
Profile: Lapel Pins – 1990 US Figure Skating Championships, Salt Lake City, Utah
Six years after Salt Lake City, Utah, hosted the 1984 US Figure Skating Championships (the first for that city), the event returned to the Salt Palace. And although the 1990 US Figure Skating Championships were marked with higher quality pins than their 1984 sister competition, they were still not standouts. As noted in the March 1990 issue of Skating magazine, the official publication of the United States Figure Skating Association (or today called U.S. Figure Skating), the pins are “… a little larger than other National pins [and] are well made cloisonné with richly colored design.” That’s the most that can be generously said of the two event pins.
Measuring approximately 1‑1/4″ in diameter (3.2 cm) and on a gold-color base metal, the main logo pin features highly stylized skaters in red at the center with a 1990s defining squiggle in turquoise below. It all has a neon vibe to it, a popular design treatment at that time. The color combination is unusual, to be sure, and works well against a black background at the center. Around the circumference, on white and in all-capital letters, are the year, event name, and location: “1990 United States Figure Skating Championships Salt Lake City, Utah.” When the pin is displayed according to how the pinback is affixed, note that the type around the circumference is not symmetrically balanced. This arrangement may or may not have been intentional, but it does help to make the rather ordinary pin a bit more unique.
The 1990 US Figure Skating Championships pin has a neon vibe to it, a popular design treatment at that time.
By 1990, a mascot pin had become increasingly common for US Championships. In fact, of the prior eight championships, only the 1987 event did not issue a mascot pin. Looking much like its counterpart logo pin, the 1990 US Championships mascot pin features the same general design, shape, and size. The mascot—a polar bear called “Polar Pet”—is seen in a well-executed stag jump with neck scarf flowing in the breeze. Behind the bear is a differently shaped squiggle in a different color (teal) than that seen on the logo pin. And interesting to note is that the type around the circumference, although identical to that used on the logo pin, also is not symmetrically balanced and is differently positioned versus the logo pin. The mascot pin also is on a gold-color base metal and measures the same as the logo pin.
Salt Lake City opened the decade of the 1990s by hosting the US Figure Skating Championships and, in a bit of serendipity, closed the decade by hosting the 1999 event. Those championships were commemorated with at least five different pins. (Spoiler alert: The pins only got worse. The third time for Salt Lake City most decidedly was not a charm.)
Enjoy this week’s figure skating pins blog: 1990 US Figure Skating Championships Pin: The Squiggles. And be sure to read the museum story for more information about figure skating pins.
This blog was originally published on April 22, 2023, and has been updated with additional details.
Pins Gallery: 1990 US Figure Skating Championships
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