It’s time to celebrate the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio with a portfolio of vintage Olympic stamps.
The people from the 5th smallest country in the world are called Sammarinese. 1960 was their first appearance at the Games. Five athletes will represent the 32,000 residents of San Marino in Rio.
Also competing for the first time were athletes from Morocco, Sudan, and Tunisia. Fifteen swimming events were held.
1968 Mexico City
Perhaps should be called the ‘Fall Olympics’ as the games were held in October.
It’s been 48 years since Bob Beamon leapt into history, as did the Black Power hand salute. Basque Pelota was the demonstration sport.
Not all Olympic memories are golden, Munich is forever overshadowed by eleven Israeli lives lost to terrorism.
Demonstration sports were badminton and the one, and only time, for water skiing, with jump, slalom and figure skiing medals.
Moscow had the cutest little mascot, Misha the Bear. The US plus 65 other countries boycotted the 1980 Summer games. First time appearances by Angola, Botswana, Jordan, Laos, Mozambique, and Seychelles.
We’re now at the XXIII Olympiad, 1984 Los Angeles
Now it’s the USSR who boycotted, along with 16 other countries, including Czechoslovakia. But newcomer Equatorial Guinea debuted with five athletes.
Twenty-nine swimming events were held. Demonstration sports were baseball and tennis. And the first of four appearances by Carl Lewis.
1988 was the first Olympic appearances by Aruba, American Samoa, Brunei, Cook Islands, Maldives, Vanuatu, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and South Yemen. For a total of 159 countries competing. Badminton, baseball, bowling, judo, tae kwon do, and wheelchair racing were all demonstration sports. The USSR won the overall medal count.
The Iron Curtain had fallen, and twelve of the fifteen former Soviet republics made up the membership of the 1992 Unified Team. The team had 475 members. The San Marino Summer Olympic team had increased to a robust 17 members.
The Olympic symbol of five interlocking rings representing the five continents was designed in 1912. The six colors used represented the colors of flags of the nations competing at that time.
Seeing the growth and changes from the countries to the events is so fascinating. And what has stayed the same.
The first modern Summer Olympics in 1896 had 43 events. The 1960 Games had 150 events and 5,338 competitors. Rio will have 306 events and more than 11,000 athletes.
Let’s Go USA!
This may be the games for San Marino to win it’s first medal. Ralph Lauren will be outfitting 552 Team USA Olympians. The Russian Federation will be a party of 279, with youngest member 16 and the oldest 51. Thirty-four events will be swimming***.
Who doesn’t love the opening ceremonies? A perfect time to make memories with my family. (London still dazzles.) Fourteen hours away as I am about to push ‘post’.
FYI: Rio 2016 resource.
There is a nice little old man who is a vendor at one of my favorite flea markets. He who gave me my first stamp group of 100 in a little glassine envelope for free, “Oh, you’re a mother, these are so nice for crafts”. Yes, they are, AND these tiny pieces of history are a bit addictive. (Hey, that vendor is truly a vintage dealer.) And so it began, I just love the graphics.
A big THANKS to my family who helped me sort through a few (1,500?) stamps when I got the ‘theme’ bug. Another mini portfolio ready for 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Hope I remember. . .
***Swimming is a frame of reference for growth. We’ll be keeping an eye on soccer, equestrian, gymnastics and fencing events.