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03 August 2004
12/2004
Commemorative Issue

Olympic Games - Athens 2004

Australia
This commemorative issue marks the Olympic and Paralympic Games to be held in Athens, Greece in August (Olympic Games) and September (Paralympic Games) 2004.

The stamps celebrate competition at the highest international level with colourful stylised illustrations of athletes in three sports/disciplines common to Olympic and Paralympic Games. Two stamps (Swimming and Athletics) illustrate Olympic competition, the third stamp (Cycling) illustrates Paralympic competition.

An Olympic sport must be widely practised by men in at least 75 countries and on four continents, and by women in at least 40 countries and on three continents.

Only individual sports and disciplines widely practised in at least 24 countries and three regions, and team sports and disciplines widely practised in at least 18 countries and three regions may be considered for inclusion in the Summer Paralympic Games.

Olympic Games
The First Games of the modern Olympic era took place in Athens in l896, when about 300 athletes from thirteen countries competed in nine different sports. In Athens 2004, approximately 10500 athletes from 201 countries will compete in 28 different sports and a total of 37 disciplines. A discipline is a branch of an Olympic sport comprising one or more events.

With about 530 athletes, the 2004 Australian Olympic team will be the largest Australian team to attend an Olympic Games abroad.

Paralympic Games
In 1960 about 400 athletes from 23 countries competed in eight sports at the First Olympic style games for athletes with a disability.

These games, which were held in Rome, are considered the First Paralympic Games. Six of the original eight sports (Archery, Swimming, Fencing, Basketball, Athletics and Table tennis) are still included in the Paralympic Competition Programme.

Since then Paralympic Games have been organised every four years, always held in the same year as the Olympic Games. The first Paralympic Winter Games took place in Sweden in 1976. In 1955, the Seoul Paralympic Summer Games marked a significant change, with Olympic and Paralympic Games held at the same venues, a practice that continues to the present.

At the 12th Paralympic Summer Games more than 4000 athletes from more than 140 countries will participate in 19 sports including several, such as Boccia, Goalball, Powerlifting and Wheelchair Rugby that are unique to Paralympic competition.

Athletics  

Athletics

:

Within Athletics are some of the oldest forms of organised sport. Broadly characterised as "running, jumping and throwing" activities, that description doesn`t do justice to the high energy excitement of athletics competition.

Australia won gold and silver medals in Athletics at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games and gold, silver and bronze at the 2000 Paralympic Games.

Cycling  

Cycling

:

The Paralympic Games Cycling programme includes two disciplines: Road Cycling and Track Cycling (Olympic competition includes a third discipline, Mountain Bike).

Olympic and Paralympic rules and regulations governing cycling are the same, although in Paralympic competition modifications to bicycles are allowed.

At the 2000 Paralympic Games, Australia was the top cycling nation, winning a total of 21 medals (ten gold).

This stamp reflects our pride in our Paralympian's achievements and hopes for their success at the Athens Paralympic Games.

Swimming  

Swimming

:

There have been many great Australian swimmers and many Australian sporting highlights have occurred in Olympic swimming events. Swimming is a discipline within Aquatics in the Olympic Games, and a sport in the Paralympic Games.

Technical Information

Issue date....................... 3 August 2004
Denomination ................. One x 50cm, two x $1.65
Designer ........................ Chris Shurey
Stamp size...................... 37.5 x 26 mm
Perforations.................... 13.85 x 14.6
Printer............................ SNP Sprint
Paper............................. Tullis Russell
Printing process.................. Lithography
Sheet layout.................... Modules of 50, two panes of 25
National postmark ........... Sydney NSW 2000
copyright notice: This material has been reproduced with permission of the Australian Postal Corporation. The original work is held in the National Philatelic Collection.
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