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What's with the 'Kiss and Cry' badges in figure skating at the Beijing Olympics?

The badges worn by figure skaters and coaches at the Beijing Winter Olympics are not some reminder to blow a kiss or shed tears.

Winter Olympics fans watching team figure skating Thursday night may have noticed the badges that skaters and coaches were wearing that said "kiss and cry." What's that all about?

The story goes back nearly 40 years to what may have been nothing more than an off-the-cuff comment by a figure skating official which a television technician picked up on.

It's not some reminder for skaters and coaches to blow a kiss or to cry happy tears. It's the name of the section where they are sitting as they wait to hear the scores.

The badges they wear are simply a security clearance.

Credit: AP
The U.S. figure skating team cheers at the 2022 Winter Olympics, Friday, Feb. 4, 2022, in Beijing. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Slate reported in 2014 on the 2004 book "Cracked Ice: Figure Skating's Inner World." The author, Italian figure skater Sonia Bianchetti Garbato, said that the term was first coined by Finnish skating official Jane Erkko.

Erkko reportedly noticed during her years in the sport that when competitors sat down to await their scores, they kissed and cried. As Erkko was helping organize the 1983 World Figure Skating Championships, she was asked by television producers what the area was that was decorated with flowers. She reportedly said it was "the kiss and cry corner."

Credit: Associated Press
Images from the figure skating Kiss and Cry section of Olympics past, from 2018 gold medalist Alina Zagitova of Russia to Ashley Wagner and the U.S team in 2014 to Canadians Jamie Sale and David Pelletier in the 2002 Salt Lake City scoring controversy. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Paul Chiasson/David J. Phillip)

A technician identified the area on a map of the rink as "KISS AND CRY." The name has stuck ever since.

According to Slate, another book in 2011 identified the technician as Peter Donlan. So while Erkko came up with the description of the area, the official "kiss and cry" naming may belong to Donlan.

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