Olympic games Montreal 1976Olympic games Montreal 1976Olympic games Montreal 1976

  • Issue: June 1976
  • Designer: D. Pessah / S. Ketter
  • Stamp size: 40 x 25.7 mm
  • Plate no.: 467 - 469
  • Sheet of 15 stamps Tabs: 5
  • Printers: Government Printers
  • Method of printing: Photogravure

The 20th Olympic Games held in Munich in 1972 culminated in tragedy for Israel. Eleven athletes, trainers and judges paid with their lives for their belief in the purity of the ideal of human brotherhood and for their cherished hope that sport had the power, if only temporarily, to dispel political differences, and for their faith that in our age too, the ancient custom of Pax Olympus" could be revived. With the opening of these 21st Olympic Games, we pay tribute to their memory.

The Olympic Games originated in ancient Greece where they were regarded as a religious rite dedicated to the cultivation of physical beauty and nobility of character. The Games were held once every four years from 776 BCE until 393 CE-293 times in all. With the decline of the classical Greek culture, the Games lapsed, only to be revived after an interval of one thousand five hundred and three years. It was the French pedagogue and historian, Pierre de Coubertin who, inspired by the spirit of the 19th century, determined to "pour new wine into the old vessels".

The revived Games were planned on a broad basis of humanitarianism and cosmopolitanism. The ancient Greeks limited the Games to one people and a single venue. "Barbarians", slaves, and even women were not allowed to participate. The revived Games, on the other hand, were planned as international gatherings, to be held in a different city each time and with the participation of all nations.

The new idea gained acceptance and the Games attained the status of a worldwide event. The Games had an additional value expressed in the preparations leading up to them-they were the prime motive in developing sport all over the world. But over and above that, Coubertin's declaration that participation was wore important than victory, fixed a moral standard for the contests, while the official slogan of the Games-Higher, Faster, Stronger"-defined the aims of Olympic sport.

The first of the new series of Games was held in Athens in 1896, followed by Paris-1900; St. Louis-1904; London-1908 and Stockholm-1912. After a short interval due to the first World War, the Games were resumed in Antwerp in 1920, followed by Paris-1924: Amsterdam-1928; Los Angeles-1932 and Berlin-1936.

The second World War interrupted the Games but they were resumed in London in 1948; Helsinki-1952; Melbourne-1956; Rome-1960; Tokyo-1964; Mexico-1968, and Munich-1972. The 21st Games of the revived series will open in Montreal on the 17th July, 1976.

Israel took part for the first time in the Games in 1952 when she sent a contingent of 26 athletes to Helsinki. There, Yoav Raanan achieved 9th place in the high diving event. Since Helsinki, Israel has participated a number of times in the Games. At Mexico in 1968, the Israeli football team reached the peak of its achievement when in the preliminary rounds, it gained victories over Ghana and San Salvador-only to lose to Hungary. In the quarter-finals, the game against Bulgaria was drawn, and it was the spin of the coin that took Bulgaria and not Israel into the semi-finals. It was at Mexico, too, that the Israeli swimmer, Avrahani Melamed, reached the semi-finals of the 100 meters butterfly event and failed by only fourtenths off a second to gain a place in the finals.

At Munich, Israel was represented in a number of branches of sport and the best achievement was that of Esther Shahamorov-Roth in the 100 meters, when a mere two-thousandths of a second kept her out of the finals, while in the 100 meters hurdles, she qualified far the semi-finals but did not take part, as the Israeli contingent was in mourning for its eleven murdered athletes.

In July, Israel athletes once again proudly caried the national flag into the Olympic arena-this time on Canadian soil.

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Olympic games Montreal 1976