The official US Olympic Committee lapel pins at the London Games were designed and manufactured by a US-based Taiwanese man.
William Wu (吳維民) moved to the US in 1975 and is the chief executive officer of Aminco International (USA) Inc, which has designed pins and accessories for the committee since 1996.
Lapel pins may be small, but they are big in power, Wu said.
Twenty years ago he gave a pin to Magic Johnson, former point guard for the Los Angeles Lakers, as a gift and to his surprise, the basketball legend came to his stall after the game to ask for more, Wu said.
The limited edition green jello pin his company designed for the US Olympic Committee at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City became popular among collectors because was inspired by the Mormon faith, which has its spiritual home in the Utah city, Wu said.
The price of those pins has since skyrocketed from US$5 to US$300 among collectors, he said.
Although his company has a long track record of designing lapel pins for sporting events, Wu said he was surprised by the Olympic authorities in London adopting stricter-than-usual measures to ensure intellectual property rights.
In the past, the process took only weeks, but this year it took over a year for authorities to approve his firm’s 500 designs, he said.