Thursday, May 10, 2012

Faster, higher, stronger ... and a little overdue

I have always thought that someone should issue an Olympic trading card set during an Olympic year. It seems like a natural. But I can only remember insert-type Olympic sets, usually focused on one particular sport, included in a larger, non-Olympic set.

This is the first time I've seen a card set that encompasses multiple Olympic teams.

And I say, it's about time.

Unfortunately, Topps limits the set to U.S. athletes only. And as you can see by the labeling, some may not even end up as Olympians. They are "hopefuls" right now. That's kind of stinky. But I think issuing the set before the Olympics is a little more appropriate than issuing it after the Olympics, when everyone knows who the athletes are but have probably moved onto something else.

The Olympics are a very "of the moment" event. They're almost like a fad, something that's here and gone. They don't have a lot of staying power. But, when they are taking place, there is no place I'd rather be.

So I bought a pack of the new Topps set to see what was inside.

I'm not sure if I'll know the athletes in here, but the set is relatively small at 100 cards, so chances are pretty good I'll know someone.

Let's look at who you'll be viewing in a couple months:

#60 - Maya Moore

Hey! I know someone already. Moore, the former UConn star, will be leading the U.S. women to a basketball title.

Already, I like the look of this set. The cards have a watercolor feel. Some may think the images are a little washed out, but I like it. Very nice.

#10 - Tyson Gay

All right! One of the key cards for me! If you've ever traded with me, you know I have a connection to this man. But, I promise, we're not related. I am not nearly that fast.

They could have caught him making a less odd face.

#50 - Hope Solo

Well, this pack is an instant success. My favorite player in a sport that I don't care about at all. Hope is no U.S. hopeful. She'll be in London in July.

#100 - Michael Phelps

If you're keeping track, that's four athletes with a card number ending in zero, and four athletes that I know! It's cover boy!

#22 - Lashawn Merritt

Five-for-five. Merritt won a couple of gold medals in the 2008 Olympics. I admit I had to rack my memory a little. The 2008 Olympics were in the middle of football and high school sports season. It was a little too hectic.

#26 - Rebecca Soni

Soni won gold and two silvers in the last Olympics, but my memories of her are nothing. I'm relieved that she's not just a "hopeful." I'd hate to think she got that Olympic rings tattoo for nothing.

#65 - Jessica Long

Long is a paralympian. Her legs were amputated when she was 18 months old. She won four gold medals at the last Paralympic Games.

#67 - Arielle Martin Verhaaren

OK, I'm not terribly broken up that baseball isn't in the Olympics, but when I see BMX in the Games, I can see why some might not take the Olympics as seriously as before. I will not be watching any BMX Olympic competition. I don't watch the X-Games either.

#100 - Michael Phelps, gold parallel

These are one in three packs. They're not numbered on the back, and they feel like an attempt to prevent you from completing the 100-card set too quickly.

#67 - Arielle Martin Verhaaren, bronze parallel

I don't know how often the bronze parallels pop up because it's not listed on the wrapper. Unless I discover it's some kind of super rare parallel, this is the only card in the pack that is up for grabs.

I'm not sure whether I will collect the whole set. I kind of doubt it.

But GQ and Bowman aren't pushing my buttons. And Series 2 won't either. If A&G and Archives disappoint, I'll have Olympic Fever, baby!



  1. What's your connection to Tyson Gay? I'm a big fan of his...

  2. Of course Tyson Gay has a frown on his face. He was given an unfortunate name and he runs for a living.

  3. Napkin Doon ~

    The answer is in AdamE's unfortunate comment.

  4. Pretty nice looking cards, although I can do without the shouting cards. I know it's supposed to show intensity, but it just looks... odd.

  5. I was going to comment about the shouting. It does look odd. It's a very TV-ish thing to do. TV's always focusing on someone shouting, beating their chest, nonstop Tiger Woods fist-pumping, etc.

  6. I was convinced there was some kind of product out there from the Atlanta Olympics. I know I'd seen some MIchael Johnson cards at some point in my youth...

    Took me a little googling, but I figured it out - Upper Deck:


  7. Your one pack was much better than my two combined. Post coming.

  8. I love, love, love the Olympics and I've been searching for blasters of this to no avail. Thanks for fueling the fire even more. I think the cards look great, but anytime you have an artsy style card, you end up with a few cards that look a little off. I still love 'em.

  9. Topps issued a set in 1984. It had a yellow frame and even had an error variation. I remember buying rack packs of it, but I don't think I quite finished the set.

  10. I'm going to be that guy, the one that asks for cards instead of leaving a "those cards look nice" comment...

    If you decide not to collect the set, I would love to give Ms. Soni a nice home.

  11. Thanks for the info on other Olympic set.

    I can see why I missed the '96 set. That was a year when collecting was completely dead to me.

    Don't know why I missed '84.

  12. Impel Trading cards issued a set for the 1992 Olympics as well.