Friday, 7 September 2012

Gold post boxes, golden winner stamps ... Olympex 2012

The IOC and the British Library are featuring this exhibition as part of the 2012 London Cultural Olympiad  - “Olympex – Collecting the Olympic Games” ... and if I had not gone to the British Library yesterday to see another exhibition – I would not have been aware of yet another facet of this Olympics.

Sarah Storey's stamps for her 4 gold medals

The Olympex brochure was dropped on the ground ... and I saw the pages fluttering ... now I don’t usually stop and pick litter up ... though perhaps after all the volunteering that has been going on this year, I should add it in to my daily routine ... but this tempted me, and I surreptitiously bended my knee and retrieved ‘said papier’ ... fluffed it out, dusted it off and away I went.

Well today posed a conundrum for at least one of our paralympians, Sarah Storey, yesterday she won her fourth gold medal in the road cycling 40 miles (64 km) event – she was 7 minutes ahead!

Helen Glover's gold post box - for
her Olympic Rowing gold medal - it is
in Penzance ... I might try and find it
next week when I'm down!
Anyway ... when asked in an interview ... four first-class stamps and four post boxes – yes she said ... the boxes are outside their house, another where she used to train and live, one outside her high school – the last - probably in Macclesfield, their nearest large town.  Decisions, decisions ... where does that gold post box go!  (Oh by the way her husband won a gold too!)

Sarah is one amazing lady as she won five golds as a swimmer from the 1992 - 2004 Paralympics, to four golds this year for Cycling, and two previous golds in 2008 – also other swimming silver and bronze medals, and she competes as an able-bodied athlete.

Bright poster for an austere time -
another collectable

... one mother with a child born without a functioning left hand – said that Sarah has shown that there is nothing to hold her feisty son back ... she’s now able to stop worrying about her son’s future – a comforting thought.  And yes there are many many more athletes more severely affected, but the tv and media coverage has highlighted visually and audibly the support and opportunity that is possible to many others.

Hence my swooping on the streets of London was a source of inspiration for another blog post ... then seeing Sarah comment that stamp collecting and letter writing had become a serious hobby for family members, and other less sporty types – is an interesting uplift from the Paralympics.

I shall visit Olympex tomorrow on my way back through London ...  the exhibition uses postage stamps and postcards to trace the birth of the modern Olympic Games, and then concentrates on the three Games held here in London: 1908, 1948 and 2012 – where it includes the Paralympics as well.

The Great Stadium,
Shepherd's Bush London:
Programme cost 6d

Sir Philip Craven, who is now President of the International Paralympic Committee, played various sports most notably wheelchair rugby from 1972 until 1994 on the international stage, says in the brochure:

“It is important to emphasise that the Olympic and Paralympic Games are not simply about sport.  They are about values, standards and beliefs that are given expression through sport, and which apply equally to all facets of life.  The Cultural Olympiad is an important part of communicating this message.”

The exhibition puts it so cleverly ... “collecting is the sport of spectators” ... for whatever reason – getting the kids occupied (I know I was well and truly occupied for a few years) – teaching us about the world ... a thematic passion, or for me it was just geography – I wanted to know where those countries were ... now I’d add to that curiosity – what flower is that, or bird ... and (now always) wanting to know more!!

The Great Stadium -
advertising the Franco-
British Exhibition ... a large
public fair attracting 8 million
visitors celebrating the
Entente Cordiale signed by
France and Britain in 1904

Collecting stamps, coins and memorabilia is one way in which millions of us can, and do, participate in, and feel a part of the Games ...

One of the key objectives of the Olympic Movement is to get as many people as possible, all over the world, imbued with the Olympic Spirit.

Many draw inspiration and example from the deeds of athletes at the Games, but not everyone can be an athlete or attend an event – cultural activities, such as this exhibition, provide an opportunity for that Olympic Spirit to soar and reach others through a different medium.

There cannot be many in this country who have not been touched by the events of the Cultural Olympiad, the Olympics or the Paralymics in some way or other.

Stamps issued - showing
sports linked with
appropriate London landmarks
for the 2012 Olympic Games
Curiosity hasn’t killed my cat – my cat just wants to know more ... and frankly for the vibes, atmosphere and general ambience of our country to keep right on going ... reflecting the attitudes of all these participants – athletes, back-up staff, families, organisers and particularly the volunteers ...  let’s not forget this feeling.

Stamps, postcards, and now Ink-Jet Postmarks (add another dimension), like books, tell a story ... an illustrated history of the Games, a personal addendum from the postcard content ...

... or to tell the Ink-Jet Postmark story – 20th December 2004 was the day that New York changed the American date order convention for one day when the Authorities learned of London’s plans for a big publicity boost to push their campaign for London 2012.

Did you know – I never did ... but a story - - an idea for a story - - something to drop in to a story?

Buy an Olympian or Paralympian gold medal winner stamp and drop it on a postcard with a story to inspire a youngster, or to show you care for a beloved person into that golden post box ... who knows where the journey might lead ...

SarahStorey via Wikipedia

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories


Pearson Report said...

Fantastic post, Hilary!

Very inspiring indeed, and good on you for being curious and for bending to pick up the "papier". One never knows what will come of such things.

I felt the same sense of eagerness and curiosity with our Winter Olympics. I collect stamps so I'm always interested in seeing what these games come up with.

Thanks for sharing your Olympic experiences with us.

Cheers, Jenny

Laura Eno said...

I used to be interested in stamps...until I quit mailing anything!
Sarah is such a tremendous inspiration!

Old Kitty said...

I am soooooo looking forward to the stamps!!! Enjoy the exhibition!! Take care

Marja said...

A fantastic post. These stamps tell great stories. Arohanui and all the best, marja

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Jenny - many thanks ... it's amazing what can happen isn't it - I'd seen the Olympex signs, but paid no significance to them - now I know and will enjoy the exhibition on my return.

Interesting to know you're still collecting stamps - mine was a childhood thing ..

@ Laura - I think that's what has happened to most of us ... but there's life in collecting yet ... and yes Sarah Storey has been incredible ...

@ Old Kitty - I asked for stamps the other day and they didn't have any - I guess they might be scarce? I shall enjoy the Exhibition ...

@ Marja - delighted you enjoyed it .. and stamps do tell so many stories ... Arohanui across the waves and round the globe!

Cheers to the four of you - have great weekends .. Hilary

Inger said...

I told my husband about the Paralympics and he too was upset that we haven't seen anything about it on our TV here in the US. Good for Great Britain though! Your country has done a magnificent job of everything related to both Games. And those are real post boxes, are they? How cool is that?!

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

The games were so wonderful, it's nice there's a keepsake. Canada won 21 medals. I'm so darn proud.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

The stamps are beautiful!

Isn't it amazing how events in daily life can provide inspiration for blog posts? It happens to me all the time. :)

Juliet said...

Curiosity - stamps - gold post boxes - and inspiring human beings. You have an instinct for the human story, the inspirational detail. Thank you Hilary, for bringing more of this event to life, and for helping me to understand why people collect things!

Lisa said...

Hi Hilary, I had been on off with my blogging. I am taking in my blog private to take a "real" break. Hope to see you again soon, my friend, Hilary.

Diane said...

What a great post Hilary. I can't imagine having my face on a stamp, I expect that only to be the Queen!! A gold post box is quite another thing, I try never to use them any more!!!
Have a good day Diane

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Inger - there's been a degree of outcry in the States too I gather .. and you have the Speciality Games. I'll do a short post in a day or two .. just to highlight this aspect

- but I agree - with New York supporting our bid (as I describe above) from the beginning .. seems funny that America only decided to broadcast 50% of the Games ...

Yes - real post boxes painted Gold - brilliant idea isn't it ..

Britain has done well for the sportsmanship that these 2012 Games have given us ...

@ Joylene - you've just beaten the Americans to the final of murderball!! So well done ...

@ Susan - I haven't seen a real Gold Medallist's stamp yet - I might try Penzance when I go down ..

Yes I was surprised at the inspiration I took from the brochure .. keeping our eyes open I guess!

@ Juliet - well I inadvertently have obviously opened your eyes here - delighted that is so .. I enjoy finding the different take on life in my post ..

@ OceanGirl - good luck with your changes and that chance of having a complete break ...

@ Diane - Diane the thought of my face on a stamp I agree is not something I dream about!!

Letters are expensive .. but people do still enjoy them .. I've enjoyed the cards I've been receiving re my Mama - so am grateful people make the effort. Can understand your thought process though ..

Have lovely rest of the weekends .. we have a balmy September weekend - before the rain sets in!

Beautiful now .. cheers Hilary

MunirGhiasuddin said...

Thanks for the info. I would like to send this to my brother whose daughter has Down Syndrome. May be he has inspirational stories to write.
How are you? Take care of yourself. I have been out of the blogger world for sometime. I don't know why. I am glad thought that I had a chance to stop by today.

Patsy said...

The paralympians are indeed inspiring. It's good to see their achievements are being recognised in the same ways as for other soprts men and women.


These games has certainly been an eye opener for people with disabilities.
Hope you enjoyed going around the complex. A great account Hilary of the games.
Yes, this bad penny has returned to the fold.....via a different blog name.


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Munir - good to see you ... and you can always copy the post across to your brother - look after yourself ..

@ Patsy - equality at the Games is definitely there, let's hope it continues on .. it's been so inspiring.

@ Yvonne - good to see you back - I couldn't comment a few minutes ago - the blog wouldn't let me ..

Cheers to you all - another lovely day here in England .. and I hope the tornadoes didn't affect you in New York ...Hilary

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Now that's a worthy exhibit. I applaud Sir Philip Craven's words.

Liara Covert said...

You are a marvelous historian who invites readers to step back and take note of inspirational ways of experiencing the world. Any qualities we sense or recognize in others are drawing attention to the same dormant qualities in ourselves.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Alex - he is inspirational ... he gave a great speech last night and wrote an amazing article in The Times - which I need to digest properly ..

@ Liara - you're always so brilliantly kind to me re my rather chaotic blog posts - so am always delighted with your take on them .. thanks so much.

Cheers to you both - Hilary