|01 August 2008
Beijing Olympic Games
|This commemorative stamp issue features three sports representative of
Australia's participation at the Beijing Olympics. The stamps have been
designed by Hobart-based graphic designer Lynda Warner. An auspicious
number for the Chinese, the number eight has been incorporated into the
design. The Games commence at 8p.m. on the eighth day of the eighth month
Cycling events have been present at every stage of the Modern Olympics
since Athens 1896. Women's cycling was introduced in Los Angeles in 1984,
mountain biking made its Olympic debut at Atlanta 1996 and BMX makes its
first appearance in Beijing. The track, mountain bike and BMX events will all
be held at Laoshan in Beijing's west. The road races and time trials will be
held around the streets of Beijing.
Australia has a long and proud tradition in Olympic cycling and, in terms of medals won per events contested, the sport is one of the most successful
for this nation. With a record six gold medals, Athens 2004 was the most
successful Olympics for Australian cycling. Ryan Bayley won the men's sprint and the keirin, becoming the first Australian to win two individual cycling gold medals. Other gold medals were awarded to Anna Meares with a world record time in the 500 metre time trial; Sara Carrigan in the women's road race; the all-conquering team pursuit squad; and Graeme Brown and Stuart O'Grady in the Madison.
Gymnastics appeared in the first Olympic Games of the modern era in Athens in 1896. The sport has been on the Olympic program ever since, with women first competing in Amsterdam 1928. The 1970s saw Olympic gymnastics,
particularly for women, change from being a physical display to entertainment. Rhythmic gymnastics, which is for women only, was added in Los Angeles 1984 and trampolining debuted at Sydney 2000.
Australian gymnasts are looking to gain their first Olympic artistic medal in
Beijing. The first Australian Olympic gymnasts competed in Melbourne in 1956.
Australia has never won a medal in artistic or rhythmic gymnastics, with a best placing of seventh coming from the women's combined team at Barcelona 1992
and Sydney 2000. Ji Wallace received Australia's first medal in gymnastics
when he came second in the men's trampoline in the sport's debut at the Sydney Games.
The Olympic basketball competition will be played in Beijing's Wukesong
Indoor Stadium. Both the Australian women's team and men's team have
qualified for the Beijing Olympics.
The Australian women's team made its first appearance in Los Angeles
1984 and has qualified for every Olympics since, except for Barcelona 1992. The bronze medal won by the women's team Atlanta in 1996 was the first Olympic medal for Australian basketball. In Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004 they improved their performances to gain silver, losing to the United States on both occasions.
Australia's men first played in Melbourne 1956 and have qualified for every Olympics since with the exception of Rome 1960 and Mexico City 1968. The
best finish for the men's team has been fourth in Seoul (1988), Barcelona
(1992) and Sydney (2000).