Waves Sharon Olympic committee

  • Issue: June 1994
  • Designer: R. Kantor / R. Meller
  • Stamp size: 25.7 x 40 mm
  • Plate no.: 224
  • Sheet of 15 stamps Tabs: 5
  • Printers: E. Lewin-Epstein Ltd.
  • Method of printing: Offset

The modern Olympic movement was founded in 1894 at an international convention of sporting officials representing 13 countries.

This committee met at the Sorbonne in Paris at the instigation of the French Count Pierre de Courbetin, who saw sport as a superb way to promote educational values and believed that the Olympic Movement would contribute to international understanding and peace. The committee decided to establish Olympic games once every four years and determined that the first Games would take place in Athens in 1896.

The committee also devised the Olympic motto: Faster, Higher, Stronger, (Citius, Altius, Fortius). The Olympic Games originated in the City of Olympia in Ancient Greece, where the Greeks held races in honour of Zeus.

The first race which is known with certainty to have taken place was in the year 776 BCE Later other sporting competitions were added. In contests which took place every four years, all the cities in the Greek states took part, and during this period the hostilities and wars between them ceased. The Olympic Games were stopped in the year 394 BCE by the Emperor Theodosius after the level of the Games reached a low ebb and corruption was rife both in the contests and the judging.

Courbetin believed that involvement in sport was for enjoyment only. He therefore limited membership of the Movement to amateurs only. His definition fitted the English social norms of the 19th century but were hardly appropriate to the realities of the 20th century. These days the terms "amateur and "hobby" do not appear in the Olympic Constitution, and 167 countries are members of the Olympic Movement. It is appropriate to give one of the definitions Courbetin gave to "Olympism": "Olympism strives to create a lifestyle, based on the joy derived from making the effort and on respect for the basic principles of universal ethics. Its purpose is to make sport serve men, so as to create a world of peace and of respect for the individual. It is based on the ancient ideal of the Greeks, who once every four years celebrated the Olympic Games in order to express the harmonious development of man physically, morally, in art and in culture".

The Olympic emblem , the creation of Courbetin, is made up of five interlinked circles in red, green, black, yellow and blue. These colours were chosen because at least one of them is found in every flag of every country in the world. Courbetin wanted in this way to express the universality of the Olympic Movement. At a later period, each circle was understood to represent one of the five continents: red for America, green for Europe, yellow for Asia, black for Africa, and blue for Australia.

The Olympic Games open with a festive ceremony which includes the flying of the flags of the participating countries and the Olympic Flag, lighting the Olympic Flame with the Olympic torch brought by runners from Olympia in Greece, and the swearing in of the sportsmen with this formula: "We swear to compete fairly in the Olympic Games, and to abide by the regulations in a sporting manner, in honour of our countries and for the glory of sport."

A delegation from Eretz Israel was invited to the Games for the first time in 1936, however this invitation was rejected as the host was Nazi Berlin. Israel first participated in the Games in the Helsinki Olympics in 1952 and since then has participated in all the Games, except for the Moscow Olympics in 1980, which were boycotted because of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

In the Barcelona Olympics in 1992, Israel won two Olympic medals for the first time, a silver and a bronze, both in judo. In 1993 the Olympic Museum was opened in Lausanne, Switzerland, in which there is a philatelic section. At the Opening Ceremony, the Israel Philatelic Service was awarded a silver medal for the best stamp to be designed for the 1992 Barcelona Games.

On the stamp appears the emblem of the Israel Olympic Committee, which includes the Menorah (the seven-branched candelabra), the Olympic Torch and the five interlinked circles. On the top part of the stamp can be seen the Israeli delegation, marching in the Opening Ceremony of the Munich Games 1972. Eleven sportsmen who marched in this ceremony were murdered by terrorists in the Olympic Village on 5 September.

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International Olympic committee centennial