Everyone has a chance to win. Regardless of handicaps, the competition is the thing. And the Special Olympics provide that opportunity for many to be involved in sporting events and achieve their personal best.
To honor the competitors, coaches and volunteers in the Special Olympics, the U.S. Postal Service will issue a new 80-cent Special Olympics stamp Thursday. The 80-cent international rate stamp can be used to send letters to countries around the world.
The new stamp features a computer-generated design that captures the enthusiastic and communal spirit of the Special Olympics, says the USPS. It depicts an athlete, wearing a medal, celebrating by jumping high in the air. The Special Olympics logo is shown above the athlete's head.
History of Games
The Games were founded in 1968 by Eunice Shriver Kennedy to offer year-round sports training and competition for people from the age of 8 with mental retardation. They compete in a variety of summer and winter Olympic-type sports.
It is encouraging to note that more than 1 million worldwide take part in the Special Olympics events year-round. This year the special athletes will travel to Dublin, Ireland, to take part in the first Special Olympics World Summer Games held outside the United States. The Postal Service reports that the event is the largest sporting event of any kind in the world. The competitions range from aquatics to volleyball.
Since the mid-1950s, the USPS has issued stamps that highlight social awareness issues. Recent examples include diabetes awareness, mentoring a child and organ tissue donation stamps.
The Special Olympics oath is: "Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt."
First-day-of-issue postmarks of the Special Olympics stamps can be ordered by mail. You can purchase the stamp at your local post office after Thursday. Affix the stamps to your own self-addressed envelope and place in a larger envelope addressed to: Special Olympics Stamp, Postmaster, 433 W. Harrison St., Chicago, Ill. 60607-9991. All orders must be postmarked by March 15.
The Stamp Fulfillment Services also offers first-day covers marked with the official first- day-of-issue cancellation. You can call (800)-STAMP-24.
The next Special Olympics World Winter Games will be held in Nagano, Japan, in 2005.
They will be followed by the 2007 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Shanghai, China.
A selection of U.S. stamps and philatelic products, as well as the free USA Philatelic Catalog are available at the Postal Store at www.usps.com/shop.