Gold medallists to appear on stamps

It’s the Olympics this summer. In London! Who knew, right?

The Royal Mail has announced it’s going to produce a stamp to commemorate all the British Gold Medallists. But not months later after we’ve all forgotten about it. No, no, no. These stamps will come out the very next day after each medal win. The stamp will feature, wherever possible, photographs of the Team GB athlete or team in action from their gold medal winning final.

This will be the first time any host country has used action shots for Gold Medal stamps and issued them immediately, during the Games. So you could lick Chris Hoy (except stamps tend to be self-adhesive now don’t they – spoiling all the fun).

The Be The First concept was launched by Sally Gunnell, Olympic gold medallist in the 400m hurdles at the Barcelona 1992 Olympic Games.

The stamps will be on sale by lunchtime the next day at 500 selected Post Offices across the UK. The special stamps will then be distributed three times during the Games to a further 4,500 Post offices operating as normal across the UK. This is the first time Royal Mail has ever issued next day stamps.

At the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games Team GB won 19 gold medals and obviously aspirations for London are high.

Moya Greene, Royal Mail Chief Executive, said: “Royal Mail is proud to be involved in this once in a lifetime event and to recognise the success of Team GB. Our Gold Medal stamps will be unique souvenirs of the Games, marking the great achievements of our talented athletes. They will be a special way for people across the country to celebrate Team GB’s gold medal wins and help mark their amazing achievement. We look forward to issuing many Gold Medal stamps to honour Team GB’s victories.”

The next day challenge
During the Games, picture editors, graphic designers, printers and drivers will swing into action, working around the clock when Team GB strikes gold to meet the challenge of getting the stamps on sale by lunchtime the next day, even if a Team GB medal win is late the previous evening.

Many of the selected 500 Post Offices will, for the first time, open on Sundays during the Games, so fans can celebrate Team GB’s achievements and start a unique and special 2012 Olympic souvenir collection.  Details of the 500 Post Offices will be announced later this month. I don’t know if West Hampstead post office will be one of the 500 sadly, although I can’t say I’m overly hopeful. The stamps will also be available the next day at www.royalmail.com.Team GB supporters will be able to buy the stamps individually or as part of a special sheet.

Royal Mail and the Olympics
The Gold Medal stamps form part of a special line-up of Royal Mail’s Olympic products. On 27th July, the day of the opening ceremony, Royal Mail’s ’Welcome to the Olympic Games’ special stamps will go on sale. On 29th August, Royal Mail will also become the first postal administration, whose country is hosting the Games, to issue a set of stamps to celebrate the start of the Paralympics Games.

In January, London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games definitive stamps went on sale, marking the Olympic year. This followed the issue of 30 stamps reflecting all the sports competed at the Games in a three-part series between 2009 and 2011. All the Olympic collection series can be purchased from the Be The First page.

Although this is the first time Royal Mail has issued stamps to mark Olympic victories, the company issued its first Olympic Games stamps in 1948, with four stamps bearing the five Olympic Rings. Olympic stamps were not issued to mark the 1908 London Games as Royal Mail stamps then bore images of the reigning monarch only.
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