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 in 1990 to the Salt Palace in downtown. And although the 1990 US Figure Skating Championships were marked with higher quality pins than their sister competition had been in 1984, the pins are by no means exceptional or even particularly creative. As noted in that year’s March 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 about the two event pins.
With Salt Lake City due to host the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in just over a decade from the time, one might have expected a greater emphasis to be placed on the design of the pins that marked the 1990 US Figure Skating Championships. Apparently not. The event featured two pins: main logo and mascot. A mascot pin is something that had become fairly common by the time. In fact, of the prior eight US Championships, only one—1987—did not issue a mascot pin.
Measuring approximately 1‑1/4″ in diameter (3.2 cm), the logo pin features highly stylized skaters in red at the center with a 1990s defining squiggle in turquoise just below. It all has a neon vibe to it, a treatment that was hugely popular in design in 1990. The color combination used on the elements is unusual, to be sure, and works well against the black background at the center. Around the circumference, on white and in all-capital letters, are the event name and location: “1990 United States Figure Skating Championships” “Salt Lake City, Utah.” Note that when the pin is displayed according to how the pinback is affixed that the type around the circumference is not symmetrically balanced. Traditionally on pins, type is arranged to begin and end at symmetrical points on a circle. This arrangement may or may not have been intentional, but it does at least help make the rather ordinary pin slightly more unique.
The 1990 US Figure Skating Championships pin has a neon vibe to it, a hugely popular design treatment in 1990.
Looking much like its counterpart logo pin is the mascot pin. After all, consistency is a good thing in figure skating, correct? With the same general design, shape, and size, the pin features the event mascot in a well-executed stag jump with neck scarf flowing in the breeze. Known as “Polar Pet,” the mascot made live appearances at the 1990 US Figure Skating Championships, in addition to being memorialized on a pin. Behind the bear, a differently shaped squiggle in a different color (teal) than that used on the logo pin still easily pegs it to 1990. And interesting to note is that the type around the circumference, although identical in content to that used on the logo pin, also is not symmetrically balanced—yet is differently positioned versus the logo pin. The mascot pin also measures approximately 1‑1/4″ in diameter (3.2 cm).
Salt Lake City opened the decade of the 1990s by hosting the US Figure Skating Championships and, in an interesting bit of history, closed the decade by hosting the 1999 event. Those championships were commemorated with at least five different pins. (Spoiler: The pins only got worse.)
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.
Pins Gallery: 1990 US Figure Skating Championships
#figureskatingpins #pincollecting #pintrading #pincollector #netropolitanmuseum