January 10, 2006
Rege Vogan of Vogan’s Gold & Silver Works
positioned an Olympic skating pin for engraving Monday
at his shop in Colorado Springs.
Pins for the six Olympic skating champions.
DEBBIE KELLEY THE GAZETTE
This week, 18 small pins that replicate the blade of a
figure skate are being handcrafted with painstaking precision
by the Vogan family of Colorado Springs. Next month, the pins
will be in the hands of Olympic figure skating medalists in
Turin, Italy, where the XX Olympic Winter Games will be held
“It’s such a thrill. We’re so proud to be able to do
this,” said Teri Vogan, coowner with her husband, Rege, of
Vogan Gold & Silver Works in the Bon Shopping Center,
north of downtown.
This is the first year the Vogans’ pins will appear at the
Olympics. But it’s the fourth year that the local jewelry
shop that repairs, restores and designs jewelry has won a
contract from the U.S. Figure Skating Association to produce
what are known as Radix pins. Beginning in the 1960s, the pins
have been given to figure skating champions around the world.
The Vogans have, since 2003, made 94 Radix pins a year for
winners of national and world skating competitions, such as
the pre-Olympic national championships, taking place through
Sunday in St. Louis.
That means the likes of five-time World and nine-time U.S.
champion Michelle Kwan, reigning U.S. and World silver
medalist Sasha Cohen and Irina Slutskaya, last year’s World
gold medalist from Russia, all have a Vogan-made pin or two.
“To think that these skaters and this year’s Olympic
medalists might be wearing our pins is pretty cool,” Rege
In the Olympic tournament, men and women figure skaters who
capture first-, second- and third-place medals will receive
one of the pins created at the Vogans’ shop. The U.S. Figure
Skating Association presents them to athletes on behalf of the
trust of Harry Radix.
A member of the Chicago Figure Skating Club, Radix was active
in the 1950s and 1960s on committees of the trade association
and the United States Olympic Committee. In the early 1960s,
the skating enthusiast began producing blade-shaped pins to
give to champions as a memento to highlight their
Radix died in 1965, but his will stipulated that the tradition
continue, and a trust was established for that purpose.
After getting the pin contract in 2003, Teri Vogan fashioned
to the millimeter a nearly identical replica of the original
pin, one of which is at the U.S. Figure Skating Museum and
Hall of Fame in Colorado Springs.
“You can’t take any shortcuts — they’re individually
cut out of gold or silver, soldered, polished and engraved,”
she said. Gold medalist pins have a small diamond added.
The Vogans’ daughters, Janelle and Holly, also work in the
family jewelry shop and have a part in the pins’ creation.
The 10-karat gold pins, with delicately etched dates and
competitive categories, are worth about $90.
“The Radix pin is a valued award. If someone doesn’t
receive one or it gets misplaced, they get anxious, and we
hear about it,” said Dalean Greenlee, a director at the
Colorado Springs-based U.S. Figure Skating Association.
Colorado Springs resident and former skating champion Barbie (Swade)
Harrington says she treasures hers. She and junior dance
partner Jim Milns won the Midwestern Figure Skating
Championships in 1967, and each received a Radix pin.
“It’s an honor," Harrington said. “It makes you
feel like a champion to wear it.”
Many skating medalists sport a lapel full of Radix pins,
Greenlee said. Others, like Harrington, have theirs made into
Vogan’s Radix pins for Olympic medalists will be shipped
this week. As with national and world ice skating
competitions, the Vogans plan to tune in to Olympic figure
skating coverage and marvel in how the world does seem small
“We want people to know these are made in Colorado
Springs,” Rege Vogan said. “This is really a labor of love
for us and a way we can maintain the standards Harry Radix
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