AIThe primary message of the AI’s Beijing Olympics campaign focuses on the legacy of the Games. The “Legacy of the Beijing Olympics” or “Olympic Legacy” has been the key phrase. It is not very catchy but it relies on the fact that China would definitely prefer to have a positive legacy for the Olympics rather than a negative one. Following the tradition of Chinese seals, an “Olympic Legacy” stamp design was created to compliment the campaign. Rubber stamps were made for stamping letters to the authorities and other aspects of the campaign.

Olympic Legacy pin and AIUSA lanyardEver since I first saw the stamp design, I thought it would be perfect to make it into a lapel pin because pin trading happens at most of the modern Olympic Games. Getting lapel pins made is not cheap however. After many months of waiting, there is finally budget for AIUSA to order the pins. I saw them for the first time at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) last weekend and they look great. I attached mine to the lanyard of my name tag and proudly wore it throughout the AGM.

I am sure many AIUSA activists would like to receive the pins but I would rather see them getting into the hands of people going to the Olympics, such as athletes, tourists and volunteers. It would be even better if they end up in the pin trading circuit. I thought the pins should also be given to journalists but I was told that journalists are not allowed to wear such things, like a button supporting a presidential candidate. I understand that journalists are required to remain impartial on political issues but are they really not allowed to wear anything representing a certain cause? No Live Strong yellow bands, red AIDS ribbon, or Save Darfur green bands? I can’t believe it.

My mom loves watching the Olympics so I grew up watching the Games. In the back of my mind, I remember strongly a rather cheesy segment of Katie Couric or another NBC reporter talked fondly about trading pins at the Olympics ages ago. At an international sporting event, shouldn’t the dress code be relaxed just a little for journalists? I can’t imaging seeing a reporter wearing full suit and tie at the track and field or swimming event.

Besides, the Olympic Legacy pin does not have the AI logo or lettering and it doesn’t even say human rights. On the other hand, Reporters Without Borders is promoting the “Freedom Badge” which sounds more like trouble to me. To all the journalists who are heading to the Beijing Olympics, would you wear a special pin or badge while you are in China? If so, call the AIUSA Media Relations department (202-544-0200 ext. 302) and ask for an Olympic Legacy pin. If you got the guts to wear something printed with AI, ask for the AIUSA lanyard and some T-shirts, too.