olympic games

  • Issue: June 1984
  • Designer: D. Pessah
  • Stamp size: 51.4 x 34.6 mm
  • Plate no.: 83
  • Sheet of 15 stamps Tabs: 5
  • Printers: E. Lewin-Epstein Ltd.
  • Method of printing: Photolithography

The first Olympic Games were held in the year 776 BCE at Olympia in Greece, in honour of the god Zeus. The Games originally lasted only one day and were later extended to three days in the 5th century BCE. The victors of each event were crowned with a simple olive wreath, but on their return home were showered with gifts of money and presents. Women were not permitted to take part in the Games and there was a period during which they were not even allowed to watch the contests. The Games were held 293 times in Ancient Greece and then in the year 394 CE the Emperor Theoduseus banned them on the grounds that they were an expression of idol worship. They were not renewed for 1,600 years.

It was in the year 1863 that the French pedagogue and historian, Baron Pierre de Coubertin, a sportsman in his own right, proposed that the Olympic Games be revived, but it was not until 1894 that his idea was accepted. The International Olympic Committee decided to hold the Games in Athens and they were formally opened by King George of Greece on the 6th April 1896. A mere 312 sportsmen from 12 countries participated.

At the meeting of the International Olympic Committee in 1897 the motto of the Olympic Games - "Faster, Higher, Stronger" - was formally adopted.

The Los Angeles Games will be the biggest ever held, with over 10,000 sportsmen from 150 different countries participating in 24 branches of sport. Some 750,000 spectators are expected to descend on the city and 2,000 million people around the world will watch the Games on television.

About 8,000 journalists will be covering the event and they will be served by the most up-to-date means of communications enabling them to transmit their reports at high speed in no less than 44 languages.

It was the famous novelist George Orwell who wrote that "international sport is war without the shooting" and the 23rd Olympic Games will see a fierce contest between the sportsmen representing the great powers.

In the last Olympics at which both East and West took part - Montreal 1976 - the Soviets won 47 gold medals, the East Germans 40 and the Americans were in third place with 34. The Americans, along with 76 other countries including Israel, boycotted the 1980 Games which were held in Moscow.

Israel has taken part in 8 Olympics so far, but it is the 1972 Games in Munich that are engraved on the heart of every Israeli, for it was there that 11 Israeli sportsmen and trainers were murdered by the PLO.

The Israel delegation to the Los Angeles Games will include some 50 sportsmen, of whom the most outstanding will be Shimshon Bruckman and Eitan Friedlander, the yachtsmen who have distinguished themselves in numerous European and international contests.

Only 40 out of the 150 countries participating in the 23rd Games stand a chance of winning a medal - for the rest, participation gives expression to the Olympic ideal "to take part, to strive to achieve a record, to display true sporting behaviour and spirit".

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The XXIII olympic games Los Angeles 1984