As elite athletes from over 200 nations prepared to compete for their countries in the 27th Olympiad in Sydney, Australia, we celebrated our nation of talented, dedictaed and determined sports men and women.
To mark this significant sporting event, we released an Olympic & Sporting Pursuits stamp issue that represented four Olympic and two non-Olympic sports played by New Zealanders. The Olympic sports - rowing, equestrian, cycling, and triathlon - have traditionally been successful sports for New Zealanders. All four were selected with the assistance of the New Zealand Olympic Committee.
The Olympic torch journeyed from Olympia, through New Zealand, and spent 100 days travelling around Australia, on its way to Sydney for the opening ceremony of the games on 15 September 2000.
New Zealand's International Sporting Event Success
For a small country, New Zealand has achieved considerable success at international sporting events. New Zealand was not represented at the first three modern Olympiads in Athens 1896, Paris 1900 and St. Louis 1904 due to costs and travels distances. Despite this, New Zealand's Olympic history is rich with memorable sporting moments. The first Olympic medal ever won by a New Zealander was an 'Australasian' representative Harry Kerr won a bronze medal for the 3,500 metres walk in 1908.
Rowing really came into its own for New Zealand at the 1968 Mexico Olympics when the coxed four took the gold medal. New Zealand's success in this Olympic sport has continued since. Equestrian has also been a medal-winning sport for New Zealand - the first in 1984 at the Los Angeles Olympics. The New Zealand equestrian team went on to win team and individual medals at subsequent Olympic Games, including a silver medal in the 1992 three-day event in Barcelona. In that same year, New Zealand cyclist, Gary Anderson, won a bronze in the 4,000 metre individual pursuit.
Bowls and netball have also taken New Zealand to the world stage. Bowls is New Zealand's third largest participation sport - requiring a unique combination of strategy and dexterity, it attracts players of every age and ability. Netball is New Zealand's second most popular sport - having originated in a paddock in the early 1900s, it is now played by more than 12,000 teams throughout the country.
Each of the six stamps in this issue takes a bird's-eye view of these sporting pursuits. Designed with modern simplicity, Martin Bailey of Auckland has captured each sport with vibrant colour and definition, accurately depicting the new Olympic team uniforms. Martin has a long association with New Zealand Post - he also designed the 1992 Barcelona Olympic stamps, the 1994 Beach Cricket booklet and the 1996 New Zealand Symphony Orchestra - 50 years issue.
Product Listing for Olympic & Sporting Pursuits
Click on image to enlarge.
|Date of issue:||4 August 2000|
|Number of stamps:||Six|
|Denominations and designs:||40c Rowing, 80c Equestrian, $1.10 Cycling, $1.20 Triathlon, $1.50 Bowls, and $1.80 Netball|
|Stamps and first day cover designed by:||Martin Bailey of Auckland, New Zealand|
|Printer and process:||Southern Colour Print, Dunedin, New Zealand by offset lithography|
|Number of colours:||Four process colours|
|Stamp size and format:||41.14mm x 28mm (horizontal)|
|Paper type:||103 gsm red phosphor stamp paper|
|Number of stamps per sheet:||50|
|Perforation gauge:||14 x 14|
|Cost of unaddressed first day cover:||$7.30|
|Special blocks:||Plate/imprint blocks could be obtained by purchasing at least sic stamps from a sheet. Barcode and value blocks could be obtained by purchasing at least two stamps from a sheet. Barcode blocks were available in both A and B formats for sheet stamps.|
|Period of sale:||These stamps remained on sale until 3 August 2001.|