Waves Mountain-bikesparaglidingvolleyball Sharon

  • Issue: February 1996
  • Designer: A. Berg
  • Stamp size: 20 x 25.7 mm
  • Plate no.: 273, 274, 291
  • Sheet of 50 stamps Tabs: 10
  • Printers: Government Printers
  • Method of printing: Photogravure

Mountain bikes

Mountain bikes are very strong bicycles with a large number of gears, strong hand-brakes and tough tyres for riding over rough terrain. Mountain cycling became popular in the USA in the '70s and developed quickly, so that by 1994, 50% of all bicycles sold in the world were mountain bikes. Mountain bike competitions include mountain racing and a downhill slalom race (as in skiing) and are open to both amateurs and professionals. At the beginning of the '90s supremacy in this sport moved from the USA to Europe. Mountain bike racing will become an Olympic sport for the first time, for both men and women, in the 1996 Olympic Games, this July.

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The paragliding sport first began in 1984 in the United States and France, when NASA began developing an efficient aerodynamic profile for free-f all parachutes (square canopy) intended for landing spaceships on the moon.

During the first decade of paragliding as a sport, paragliders improved their performances at an amazing rate by employing advanced technologies.

Today's paragliders are easy to fly, and weigh only about 6 Kg. The glider carries it on his back, in a knapsack, to the take-off location. Flight speed can reach about 50 KMH. Their glide ratio can reach 1:11 (progression of 11 meters in flight while losing 1 meter of height). Despite the relative newness of the sport, over one million paragliders actively engage in the sport in both international and European competitions. The world record for distance, achieved in South Africa, now stands at 286 Km.. The Israeli record for distance, held by Hezzi Dvir, was also achieved in Africa, and stands at 224 Km.

The Israel Paragliding Association was established in 1984. The branch is part of the Aero Club of Israel, which is the Aviation Sport Organization in Israel. The organization boasts 1,100 members, 600 of whom are active in national competitions and other events the association organizes.

The paragliders, shaped liked wings, are very colourful, and all of the basic aviation laws which apply to the wings of conventional aircraft apply to them as well. Distance paragliding depends on the talents of the individual pilot and on rising (hot) air currents, just as in bird migration around the world.

The paraglider on the stamp is one of the first versions used, developed over 10 years ago. Today's paragliders are narrower and longer (aspect-ratio).

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Women's volleyball

Volleyball is a team ball-game first invented by an American called William Morgan, in 1895, and was originally called Mintonet. The game is played by two teams of six players who each hit a ball over a net into the opponent's court, so that it hits the ground before the opposing team, which is permitted to handle the ball no more than three times, manages to return it.

The first Men's World Volleyball Championship took place in Prague in 1949, and the first Women's World Championship was in Moscow in 1952. The first Men's European Championship took place in Rome in 1948 and the Women's Championship in Prague in 1949.

Volleyball became an Olympic sport (for both men and women) in 1964 only, when the Women's Gold Medal was won by Japan. In 1990 the World Volleyball League (for both men and women) came into being and included the 8 best women's teams in the world. That year the Cuban women's team took first place. In the 90's the Americans ousted the Europeans (with a win over the Russian Women who had previously held the title for 5 consecutive years, and over Asia (beating teams from Japan, South Korea and China). Cuba won the Gold Medal in the Barcelona Olympic Games in 1992 and the 1994 World Championships in Brazil.

In Israel, the National Volleyball League was established in 1961, cup matches having started the previous year. Then the Hapoel Em Shemer team took first place in both League and Cup matches. Israel's women's team participated in the World Championships for the first time in 1956, in Paris. Their outstanding achievement was in 1967 in the European Championships in Turkey when the Israeli team reached the finals and were ranked overall in eighth place. Israel women's teams now take part in the European Cup every year.

Recently a new branch of volleyball - Beach Volleyball -has come into being. This is a doubles game on a sand court, and from 1996 will be included in the Olympic programme. In the first European Beach Volleyball Championships in 1994, couples from Germany (both in the men's and the women's competitions) won the tournament. Beach Volleyball is now also popular in Israel.

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Sport - women's volleyball, paragliding, Mountain-bikes