New postage stamps for Canada’s Olympic-bound athletes

Glistening ice, aerodynamic clothing, state of the art blades and nerves of steel. These are the instruments needed to dominate the world in the team pursuit speed skating and skeleton events at the Torino Olympic Games. New Canadian postage stamps being issued next month will allow Canadians to show their support for our Olympic athletes with every letter they mail. Stamps featuring team pursuit speed skating and skeleton athletes in action will be available at post offices across the country on February 3, 2006, just in time for the Games that begin February 10.

Team pursuit speed skating will be added to the Olympic Winter Games for the first time in Turin, Italy, in 2006. This new sport, which has been enjoyed by junior skaters for years and has recently been added to the senior levels of world competition, features two teams of three skaters competing against one another on a long track. Olympians Clara Hughes (a Canada Post-sponsored athlete) and Cindy Klassen, both of Winnipeg, will be joined by rising stars Denny Morrison of Fort St. John, BC and Christine Nesbitt of London, ON, among others, on Canada’s long track Olympic team. Already this year, Canadians have won 27 medals in five competitions on the World Cup circuit and the team is expected to be among Canada’s biggest medal producers in Turin. Further information about the Canadian speed skating team can be found at www.speedskating.ca.

Skeleton is a sport in which a single pilot (or slider) races downhill, headfirst, stomach-down on a skeleton sled slightly wider, but shorter than his/her body. It is the oldest of the hill-sliding sports which also include bobsled and luge. Olympians Jeff Pain, Duff Gibson and Lindsay Alcock, all of Calgary, will lead the Canadian Skeleton team, which has consistently been among the world leaders since the 2002 Games. The team has already won ten World Cup medals in this year’s circuit and is expected to be familiar with the podium in Turin. Further information about the Canadian skeleton team can be found at www.bobsleigh.ca.

Susan Mavor, a native Ontarian who has made her home in Vancouver since 1991, designed the stamps. Mavor is the principal of Metaform Communication Design in Vancouver, an award-winning studio that does work for a variety of clients including UBC Museum of Anthropology and the Emily Carr Institute. Mavor explains the design of the stamps, saying it, “celebrates the intensity and speed of these demanding athletic events with the painted portions of the illustrations capturing the athletes in split-second stopped-motion.” She adds, “the dynamic shapes emulate the curve of the skeleton run or speed-skating oval and the sleek line drawings explore a more analytical side of the action, giving the viewer further insight into the movement of each sport.”

Additional information about Canadian stamps can be found in the Newsroom section of Canada Post’s website, and downloadable high-resolution photos of the XX Olympic Winter Games stamps are in the Newsroom's Photo Centre.