Five CSG-graded Cards Showcasing US Winter Olympic Greats
Posted on 1/27/2022
Those seeking sports card collecting inspiration need look no further than Olympic champions. They exhibit a level of passion and commitment that is unparalleled in the world of sports, often spending years rigorously preparing for contests that last a matter of seconds. Even when they fail to make it to the medal platform, they often become heroes, representing to legions of fans the commitment to excellence that embodies the Olympic spirit.
Certified Sports Guaranty® (CSG®) is always excited to grade cards showcasing Olympic champions. In anticipation of the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing, China, CSG presents the following cards, which were graded by CSG and feature US Winter Olympic champions from the past three decades.
Apolo Ohno – Olympic Speed Skating Champion
Apolo Ohno is the most decorated US Winter Olympic athlete in history, having won eight medals for men’s speed skating over the course of three Olympic Games. Ohno became the youngest US speed skating national champion in history in 1997 at the age of 14, then went on to win the national title 12 times over the course of his career. He won a gold and silver Olympic medal during the 2002 Salt Lake City Games, a gold and two bronze medals during the 2006 Turin Games and a silver and two bronze medals during the 2010 Vancouver Games.
Ohno is featured on this 2020 Topps Seattle Children’s Hospital Autographed #SCH-19 Apolo Ohno card graded CSG 9.5, with a 10 awarded for the autograph. The front of the card shows Ohno in his US Olympic Team uniform with trademark bandana holding up eight fingers to represent his record-setting eight Olympic medals.
A very special card set
The card comes from a special card set issued by Topps in 2020 to raise money for Seattle Children’s Hospital. The set of 25 cards includes a mix of athletes, entertainers and young patient ambassadors from the hospital, all of whom are Seattle natives or who were members of Seattle teams.
The sets were sold exclusively by Bartell Drug Stores in the Seattle area, with each box containing one autographed card. The cards quickly became popular when collectors realized the potential to pull an autographed copy of a Ken Griffey Jr. or Russell Wilson card.
Shaun White – Olympic Snowboarding Champion
Shaun White is a US men’s snowboarder who is very familiar with the top spot on the medal platform. In addition to winning three Winter Olympic gold medals, which is the most won by any snowboarder, White has 15 X Games gold medals, which include 13 for snowboarding and two for skateboarding. He won his first Olympic Gold at the 2006 Torino Games, and also won gold medals in 2010 at Vancouver and 2018 at PyeongChang. He is scheduled to compete as part of the US Men’s Snowboard Halfpipe Team at the Beijing Games.
White is featured on this 2003 Sports Illustrated for Kids #278 Shaun White that is graded CSG 6, with sub-grades of 7 for Centering, 8.5 for Corners, 7.5 for Edges and 5 for Surface. The card features White in flight on the front of the card, while the back lists his athletic accomplishments, including winning events in the US Open and Vans North American Championships while only 16-years-old.
About the Sports Illustrated for Kids set
The 2003 Shaun White card is one of thousands of historic and highly-collectible cards that have been released as part of the Sports Illustrated for Kids set. First issued in January 1989, the cards are included in the monthly Sports Illustrated For Kids magazine, a spin-off of the well-known Sports Illustrated magazine designed for young readers. While the cards include top athletes from mainline sports like football, baseball and basketball, they also feature athletes from sports not traditionally represented by sports cards, such as snowboarding.
The Sports Illustrated For Kids cards come in a sheet of nine cards with perforations for separating the cards. They have been issued in cooperation with Topps Trading Cards since 2006. Since 1989, more than 3,000 individual Sports Illustrated For Kids cards have been released.
Nancy Kerrigan – Olympic Figure Skating Champion
Nancy Kerrigan’s skating career was as notable for its drama as for its athletic achievements. Seven weeks prior to her appearance in the 1994 Lillehammer Games, she was the victim of an attack that was later revealed to be an attempt to keep her from competing in the Olympics.
Kerrigan is featured on this 1993 Sports Illustrated For Kids #118 Nancy Kerrigan card graded CSG 5.5. The card features Kerrigan performing her famous spiral on the front, while on the back it celebrates her bronze medals at the 1991 World Championships and 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville, France. Kerrigan went on to win an Olympic silver medal for the US in Women’s Singles Figure Skating in 1994 at the Lillehammer Games.
Beyond the regular sports card sets
The Nancy Kerrigan card is also part of the Sports Illustrated For Kids set first released in 1989. The most sought-after cards in the set are those that feature athletes who participate in sports that do not have their own regular sports card sets, such as golfer Tiger Woods, swimmer Michael Phelps and sprinter Usain Bolt. Cards from the set featuring female athletes, such as Naomi Osaka, Serena Williams and Diana Taurasi, are also among the more popular cards.
The 1992 Sports Illustrated For Kids card featuring Team USA Soccer superstar Mia Hamm during her rookie year holds the distinction of being the second most expensive card featuring a woman athlete in history, having sold for $34,440 in June 2021.
Michelle Kwan – Olympic Figure Skating Champion
Michelle Kwan is considered one of the most decorated figure skaters in US history and one of America’s most popular female athletes. She holds the record for most consecutive US titles, which stands at eight, and for most consecutive US Championship medals, which stands at 12. Her combined total of 57 perfect marks is the record for women skaters under the 6.0 judging system that was in place until 2004.
Kwan is featured on this 2018 Topps US Winter Olympics Olympic Champions Autographs #OC-MK Michelle Kwan graded CSG 9, with a grade of 10 for the autograph. Only 25 of the authorized Michelle Kwan autograph cards were issued, and the card certified by CSG is number 10 of 25.
The 2018 Topps Winter Olympics set
Topps released its 2018 US Winter Olympics set on January 26, 2018, which was approximately two weeks before the games opened in PyeongChang, South Korea. It consists of a base set of 93 cards featuring US athletes expected to compete in the games, as well as special subsets that include Achievement Medallion cards, Memorabilia cards, For Pride and Country cards and Olympic Champion Autograph cards, to name a few.
The #OC-MK Michelle Kwan card is one of only four cards included in the Olympic Champions Autographs subset, all of which feature figure skaters. It shows Kwan in action during the 2002 Salt Lake Games, where she won a bronze medal. Kwan also competed in the 1998 Nagano Games, where she won a silver medal. She retired from skating in 2006.
1980 US Men’s Olympic Hockey Team
In the 1980 Lake Placid Games, the first game in the medal round for men’s ice hockey pitted the Soviet Union, which had won gold in five of the last six Olympic Games, against a very young and very inexperienced US team. When the US ended up winning by a score of 4 to 3, the contest was dubbed the “Miracle on Ice.” According to Sports Illustrated, the upset was the top sports moment of the 20th century.
A comprehensive Olympic Hall of Fame set from Impel
In 1991, trading card manufacturer Impel issued a 90-card US Olympic Hall of Fame set that includes cards featuring the 1980 US Men’s Hockey Team. CSG certified a US Olympic Hall of Fame #66 ‘80 US Olympic Team Ice Hockey, which it graded CSG 9.
Impel, which is best known for its 1990 Marvel Universe card set, issued the US Olympic Hall of Fame series to “Salute America’s Greatest Olympic Champions.” The cards honor athletes and coaches from a wide range of sports and include heroes from as far back as the 1900 Paris Games. Some subjects, such as the 1980 US Men’s Hockey Team and the 1964 US Men’s Basketball Team, are represented in the set on more than one card.
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