Etienne Desmarteau, 56-lb Weight Throw, 1904
Date of Issue
July 8, 1996
Series Time Span
Perforation or Dimension
13 x 12.5
Ashton-Potter Canada Limited.
Designed by Mark Koudis Based on a photograph by Canada's Sports Hall of Fame = Temple de la renommée des sports du Canada
There are few international events that enjoy the reputation of the Olympic Games. Launched a century ago this year, the modern Olympics offer a turbulent world the important opportunity to seek peace and unity through athletic competition. This summer, athletes from around the world will continue the tradition by competing at the Olympics Games in Atlanta, Georgia, and Canada's best will be there in force. To mark the centenary, and to honour the contribution made by our athletes over a hundred years, Canada Post Corporation is pleased to unveil a new series of five domestic rate stamps featuring Canadian gold medalists. Credited as the first Canadian to win an Olympic gold medal, this robust Montreal police constable competed in field and weight throwing events at a time when tournaments of sheer strength were at the height of popularity. Before the Olympics, Étienne Desmarteau (1873-1905) threw a 56-pound paving stone 15 feet 9 inches in the air and 36 feet 6.5 inches in distance, setting two world records. Though he won first-place gold in the St. Louis Olympics, no record remains of the details of his victory. Despite his achievements, Desmarteau was virtually forgotten until 1955 when he was finally inducted into Canada's Sports Hall of Fame. In 1972, a Montreal sports complex was dedicated to his memory, and four years later the Centre Étienne Desmarteau became the site for some of the events of the 1976 Montreal Olympics. The new Sporting Heroes series was designed by Mark Koudis of Atlanta Art and Design Inc. of Toronto. His first work for Canada Post, the series features evocative sepia toned photographs of these five prominent medalists with the athlete's name, the event and year of victory prominent in the design. The five rings of the Olympics are faintly visible in the centre of each stamp.
Canada Post Corporation. Canada's Stamps Details, Vol. 5, No. 4, 1996, p. 5-6, 9.
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