A new stamp series was unveiled in 1932, designed as a “spotlight on the sports, athletes, and host cities that carry the torch for global unity.” Olympic Games stamps quickly became collector favorites.
The 1932 2¢ Winter Olympic Games stamp is the first U.S. stamp issued to commemorate the international competition. Voters chose U.S. #716 as on of the 100 Greatest American Stamps.
1932 marked the third time the Winter Games were held, and the first time the event was held in the U.S. The games were held in Lake Placid, a small town in upstate New York that was home to less than 3,000 year round residents.
The Lake Placid Chamber of Commerce asked the village postmaster to suggest a commemorative stamp for the event. A New York congressman helped persuade reluctant officials, and the stamp was approved.
The 2¢ Winter Olympic Games stamp was issued just days before the opening ceremonies, and sold only in Lake Placid and Washington, D.C. Demand for the stamp was heavy from the moment the Lake Placid Post Office opened at 7 a.m. until mid-morning, when its entire supply of 400,000 stamps was exhausted. State police were called in to control the crowd.
Postal officials were soon embarrassed to learn the stamp design contained an error. Ski jumpers don’t use poles, but the athlete pictured on the 2¢ stamp is clearly grasping a pair as he flies mid-air.
This stamp was issued in honor of the 1932 Summer Olympic Games. It release was delayed because the first class rate was scheduled to be changed. The increase to 3¢ was signed into law on June 6, and #718 was released the following week. There was large demand for this stamp, so they were on sale for just a short time.
This stamp covered the international letter rate and was used by athletes from other countries. The design is based on a classic Greek sculpture called Discobolus.
Originating in Switzerland in the 1800s, bobsled racing has been included as part of the Olympic Games since 1924. Originally, tobogganers added runners to their sleds to increase speed, and they banked the course to add excitement.
Another celebration of the 20th Olympic Summer Games, this stamp reflects the emphasis placed on track and field events. Sadly, the Games were overshadowed by an act of terrorism known as the “Munich Massacre.” On September 5, eight Palestinian terrorists broke into the Olympic Village and took 11 Israeli athletes, coaches and officials hostage. All of the Israelis were killed, along with five of the terrorists.
This block of four stamps was issued to commemorate the 1980 Summer Olympic Games in Moscow. However, they were removed from sale to support President Jimmy Carter’s decision to boycott the games. Once the games ended, the stamps were sold again.
This issue salutes the 22nd Olympic Games which were held in Moscow in 1980.
This block of four was the final issue honoring the 1980 Winter Olympics. Most Americans best remember the Games for the U.S. Hockey Team’s gold medal performance.
This se-tenant commemorates the 23rd Olympic Games which were held in Los Angeles during the summer of 1984. The block features assorted sports including women’s gymnastics, women’s basketball, soccer, and the men’s hurdles.
The third block-of-four dedicated to the Summer Olympics of 1984 features cycling, pole vaulting, fencing, and women’s volleyball. Few sports have been so enthusiastically greeted at the Olympics as was women’s volleyball when it made its debut at the 1964 Tokyo Games. The sport was invented in Holyoke, Massachusetts, in 1895.
This series of four stamps was issued at the site of the 1984 Summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles. The last stamps to commemorate the 1984 Summer and Winter Olympics, these stamps are the end of an Olympic stamp set that spanned 28 issues and lasted 13 months.
The alpine skier featured on this stamp is appropriate, as skiing and skating were the dominant sports at the 1988 Winter Olympics held in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
The 1988 Summer Olympic Games were held in Seoul, South Korea. U.S. athletes won 94 medals, including 36 gold.
This $1 definitive publicized the USPS’s sponsorship of the 1992 Winter and Summer Olympic Games. The stamp, in vertically arranged commemorative size, featured the USPS logo – a stylized bald eagle – along with the five interlocking Olympic rings.
The Olympic spirit continued into the summer of 1992 with a se-ten that commemorated the world’s most popular sporting event – the Summer Olympics. These action-packed stamps used the same semi-jumbo commemorative format as the 1992 Winter Olympic stamps. Featuring tightly-cropped pictures of five favorite summer events – soccer, women’s gymnastics, volleyball, boxing, and swimming – the stamps sported the Olympic rings to publicize the Postal Service’s sponsorship of the Olympic Games.
The first Olympic Games took place in Athens, Greece, in 776 B.C. In 2004, the Olympics returned again to their origin when Athens hosted the XXVIII Olympiad. The phrase “XXVIII Olympiad” is microprinted above the runner’s right foot.
The 2008 Summer Olympic Games, officially referred to as the Games of the XXIX Olympiad, took place between August 8 and August 24, 2008. The events were held at the Beijing National Stadium in Beijing in the People’s Republic of China. Beijing was selected as the site for the 2008 Olympics at a meeting of the International Olympic Committee on July 13, 2001.
Canada welcomed the world to the 2010 Winter Olympics “with glowing hearts,” a phrase taken from the Canadian national anthem and used as the motto of the 21st Winter Olympics. The games took place in Vancouver, British Columbia, from February 12 through 28, 2010. The opening and closing ceremonies were held in BC Place Stadium.