Though the torch has not yet been lit, the Olympic Spirit is already spreading across Canada as fans, athletes and officials from around the world await the start of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. To mark Canada’s role as Host Country of the world’s most celebrated sporting event, Canada Post will issue five PERMANENT™ domestic rate stamps showcasing 2010 Winter Games sports. This vibrant stamp set features curling, snowboarding, freestyle skiing, bobsleigh and ice sledge hockey.
The 2010 Winter Games provide Canadians with an opportunity to continue a tradition that began with the first Olympic Winter Games in 1924 in Chamonix, France. What began as a 16-event competition with 16 countries participating has grown to 86 medal events and more than 80 countries (in the case of the Olympic Winter Games), and 64 medal events and more than 40 countries (in the case of the Paralympic Winter Games).
The stamps issued to mark this upcoming event feature athletes in action, with a strong emphasis on movement. “We were inspired by Olympic imagery of the 1940s and 1950s, particularly the highly romanticized silk-screened posters of the era,” explains John Belisle, Creative Director of Signals Design Group in Vancouver. “We started with basic sketches of athletes in action and, to give the design a contemporary spin, we layered the images.” These layers of transparencies capture the movement of the athletes. Belisle adds, “We’ve carried this sense of motion onto the souvenir sheet, where we’ve created movement by winding the pattern of the Vancouver 2010 colour scheme.” Blues and whites worked into the stamp designs convey the feeling of snow and ice.
According to Liz Wong, Manager of Stamp Design and Production at Canada Post, this stamp issue really speaks to the dynamism of the upcoming Games. “Its energy reflects Canada’s excitement to be hosting this world-class event,” she explains. “As these stamps make their way from coast to coast, they’ll help spread the Olympic and Paralympic Spirit and build anticipation for the arrival of the world’s athletes, officials and sports enthusiasts.”
Here’s a glimpse at the sports highlighted in this issue:
Ice sledge hockey—Ice sledge hockey was invented at a rehabilitation centre in Stockholm, Sweden, in the 1960s. The sport made its Paralympic debut at the Lillehammer 1994 Paralympic Winter Games.
Snowboard—Inspired by skiing, surfing and skateboarding, snowboard is an exciting addition to the Olympic winter sports family. The sport made its Olympic debut at the 1998 Olympic Winter Games in Nagano, Japan.
Freestyle skiing—Freestyle skiing involves aerial manoeuvres performed while skiing downhill. Moguls were added to the official program of the Albertville Olympic Winter Games in 1992, and aerials made their first appearance at the Olympic Winter Games in 1994 in Lillehammer.
Bobsleigh—Though sleds have been used for centuries as a mode of transportation, bobsledding was not born until the late 19th century, when the Swiss attached a steering mechanism to a toboggan. In 1924, a four-man bobsleigh race took place at the first Olympic Winter Games in Chamonix, France.
Curling—Though Canada is recognized as the major home of curling today, the game was actually developed in Scotland. It was included in the program of the first Olympic Winter Games and, after a lengthy absence, made its way back into the official Olympic program for the 1998 Nagano Games.
To learn more about the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, visit vancouver2010.com