New Issues, Olympics on Stamps, Topical Pursuits

Stamps for the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea

Once again, the Olympics are upon us. I don’t watch many sports but I have tuned-in to watch the Olympics ever since I can remember. In fact, I can recall viewing bits of the 1976 summer games held in Montréal and being disappointed when the United States boycotted the Moscow-hosted edition in 1980.

While I casually collected the U.S. stamps released for those two Olympic years, by the time of the 1984 winter games I was philatelically “all in”. I designed my own cachets for not only the first day covers of the stamps (different designs for blocks and singles) but also for the special postmarks available from the post offices along the torch relay route and for the various venues themselves. I began collecting Olympic memorabilia and amassed a great amount of Lake Placid 1980 souvenir magazines, clothing, even ticket stubs. When Tai Babilonia and Randy Gardner were forced to withdraw from the gold medal round of the pairs figure skating due to Gardner’s groin injury, I wrote them a condolence letter and received a reply back. That was really the peak of my Olympic collecting activities, although I did dabble every four years until my first real break from stamps around 200o or 2001 — a philatelic hiatus that lasted until shortly after I moved to Thailand permanently in 2015. Sadly, that collection remained in the U.S. and is now gone.

Mist rises behind the Olympic Rings during day 12 of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Laura Cross-country Ski & Biathlon Center on February 19, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Mist rises behind the Olympic Rings during day 12 of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Laura Cross-country Ski & Biathlon Center on February 19, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

I still get excited when the Olympics come around and, since Lake Placid, I prefer the Winter Olympics more than the Summer. The 2018 edition — the XXIII Olympic Winter Games (Les XXIIIes Jeux olympiques d’hiver in French and 제23회 동계 올림픽 in Hangul, pronounced Je-isipsamhoe Donggye Ollimpik) — are being held from February 9 through the 25 in Pyeongchang County, South Korea. Interest is very high here in Thailand as there is a very large Korean population. These will be South Korea’s second Olympic Games and its first Winter Games; Seoul hosted the Summer Olympics in 1988. There are now 2,952 participating athletes registered from 92 nations with a total of 102 events in seven sports (15 disciplines).

Amazingly, a unified Korean team consisting of players from both North Korea and South Korea will compete in the women’s ice hockey tournament following talks in Panmunjom on January 17. Of the 35 players on the team, 12 are from North Korea and 23 are from South Korea. Although Russia participated in the 2014 Winter Olympics, following a doping controversy the Russian NOC was barred and the Russian athletes are participating in Pyeonchang as the “Olympic Athletes from Russia”.

The National Olympic Committee of Thailand is scheduled to field a team of four athletes in the 2018 Winter Olympics, the largest delegation it has sent since its Winter Olympic debut in 2002. Thailand qualified one male — Nicola Zanon — and one female — Vanessa Vanakorn — alpine skier. In cross-country skiing, Thailand qualified two athletes, one male and one female. Mark and Karen Chanloung are siblings who are half-Italian and half-Thai. They grew up in Gressoney-La-Trinité, Italy.

South Korea released it’s first stamps for PyeongChang 2018 way back on August 3, 2011. It had been announced as the host city on July 6, 2011, having won its bid in the first round of voting, receiving more votes than both Munich, Germany and Annecy, France combined.

South Korea - 2018 Winter Olympics, released November 1, 2017 [souvenir sheet #1]
South Korea – 2018 Winter Olympics, released November 1, 2017 [souvenir sheet #1]
South Korea - 2018 Winter Olympics, released November 1, 2017 [souvenir sheet #2]
South Korea – 2018 Winter Olympics, released November 1, 2017 [souvenir sheet #2]

On November 1, 2017. South Korea issued two miniature sheets containing ten 330-won stamps each portraying the PyeongChang 2018 emblem and the official mascot — official mascot, Soohorang (수호랑), a white tiger — as an athlete in the various sports. The Paralympic Games, which will follow, have a different mascot — Bandabi (반다비), an Asiatic black bear.

This photo taken February 4, 2017 shows the mascot for the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games, a white tiger named "Soohorang", in the town of Hoenggye in Pyeongchang. (Photo by Jung Yeon-Je, AFP/Getty Images)
This photo taken February 4, 2017 shows the mascot for the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games, a white tiger named “Soohorang”, in the town of Hoenggye in Pyeongchang.  (Photo by Jung Yeon-Je, AFP/Getty Images)

Several different nations have released, or scheduled, stamps marking the 2018 Winter Olympics. Those that I’ve heard about are pictured below, sourced from a variety of sources (I don’t have any of these in my collection…yet).

Belarus - 2018 Winter Olympics mini-sheet, released February 9, 2018 [mini-sheet]
Belarus – 2018 Winter Olympics, released February 9, 2018 [mini-sheet]
Belarus - 2018 Winter Olympics, released February 9, 2018 [first day cover]
Belarus – 2018 Winter Olympics, released February 9, 2018 [first day cover]

Czech Republic – 2018 Winter Olympics, released January 20, 2018
Czech Republic - 2018 Winter Paralympic Games, released January 20, 2018
Czech Republic – 2018 Winter Paralympic Games, released January 20, 2018
Estonia - 2018 Winter Olympics, released January 12, 2018
Estonia – 2018 Winter Olympics, released January 12, 2018
Estonia - 2018 Winter Olympics, released January 12, 2018 [first day cover]
Estonia – 2018 Winter Olympics, released January 12, 2018 [first day cover]
Hungary - 2018 Winter Olympics, released February 2, 2018
Hungary – 2018 Winter Olympics, released February 2, 2018
Hungary - 2018 Winter Olympics, released February 2, 2018 [first day cover]
Hungary – 2018 Winter Olympics, released February 2, 2018 [first day cover]
Latvia - 2018 Winter Olympics, released February 2, 2018
Latvia – 2018 Winter Olympics, released February 2, 2018

Latvia - 2018 Winter Olympics, released February 2, 2018 [mini-sheet]
Latvia – 2018 Winter Olympics, released February 2, 2018 [mini-sheet]
Latvia - 2018 Winter Olympics, released February 2, 2018 [first day cover]
Latvia – 2018 Winter Olympics, released February 2, 2018 [first day cover]

Liechtenstein - 2018 Winter Olympics, released November 13, 2017
Liechtenstein – 2018 Winter Olympics, released November 13, 2017
Liechtenstein - 2018 Winter Olympics, released November 13, 2017 [first day cover]
Liechtenstein – 2018 Winter Olympics, released November 13, 2017 [first day cover]
Lithuania - 2018 Winter Olympics, released January 26, 2018
Lithuania – 2018 Winter Olympics, released January 26, 2018

Lithuania - 2018 Winter Olympics, released January 26, 2018 [sheet 2]
Lithuania – 2018 Winter Olympics, released January 26, 2018 [sheet 1]
Lithuania - 2018 Winter Olympics, released January 26, 2018 [sheet 2]
Lithuania – 2018 Winter Olympics, released January 26, 2018 [sheet 2]

Monaco - 2018 Winter Olympics, released February 8, 2018
Monaco – 2018 Winter Olympics, released February 8, 2018
Poland - 2018 Winter Olympics, released February 1, 2018
Poland – 2018 Winter Olympics, released February 1, 2018

Poland - 2018 Winter Olympics, released February 1, 2018 [mini-sheet]
Poland – 2018 Winter Olympics, released February 1, 2018 [mini-sheet]
Poland - 2018 Winter Olympics, released February 1, 2018 [first day cover]
Poland – 2018 Winter Olympics, released February 1, 2018 [first day cover]

Serbia - 2018 Winter Olympics, released February 9, 2018
Serbia – 2018 Winter Olympics, released February 9, 2018
Slovakia - 2018 Winter Olympics, released January 19, 2018
Slovakia – 2018 Winter Olympics, released January 19, 2018
Slovenia - 2018 Winter Olympics, released January 26, 2018
Slovenia – 2018 Winter Olympics, released January 26, 2018

Slovenia - 2018 Winter Olympics, released January 26, 2018 [mini-sheet wth labels]
Slovenia – 2018 Winter Olympics, released January 26, 2018 [mini-sheet with labels]
Slovenia - 2018 Winter Olympics, released January 26, 2018 [first day cover]
Slovenia – 2018 Winter Olympics, released January 26, 2018 [first day cover]
South Korea - 2018 Winter Olympics, released November 1, 2017 [first day cover of six stamps from souvenir sheet 1]
South Korea – 2018 Winter Olympics, released November 1, 2017 [first day cover of six stamps from souvenir sheet 1]
South Korea - 2018 Winter Olympics, released November 1, 2017 [first day cover of six stamps from souvenir sheet 2]
South Korea – 2018 Winter Olympics, released November 1, 2017 [first day cover of six stamps from souvenir sheet 2]

South Korea - 2018 Paralypmic Games stamp announcement
South Korea – 2018 Paralympic Games stamp announcement

South Korea - 2018 Paralympic Games, released January 18, 2018 [souvenir sheet]
South Korea – 2018 Paralympic Games, released January 18, 2018 [souvenir sheet]
South Korea - 2018 Paralypmic Games, released January 18, 2018 [first day cover - Logo]
South Korea – 2018 Paralympic Games, released January 18, 2018 [first day cover – Logo]
South Korea - 2018 Paralypmic Games, released January 18, 2018 [first day maximum card - Ice Hockey]
South Korea – 2018 Paralympic Games, released January 18, 2018 [first day maximum card – Ice Hockey]

Switzerland - 2018 Winter Olympics, released January 30, 2018
Switzerland – 2018 Winter Olympics, released January 30, 2018

Switzerland - 2018 Winter Olympics, released January 30, 2018 [mini-sheet]
Switzerland – 2018 Winter Olympics, released January 30, 2018 [mini-sheet]
Switzerland - 2018 Winter Olympics, released January 30, 2018 [first day cover]
Switzerland – 2018 Winter Olympics, released January 30, 2018 [first day cover]
Ukraine - 2018 Winter Olympics, released January23, 2018 [mini-sheet]
Ukraine – 2018 Winter Olympics, released January23, 2018 [mini-sheet]
Ukraine - 2018 Winter Olympics, released January23, 2018 [first day cover]
Ukraine – 2018 Winter Olympics, released January23, 2018 [first day cover]
Ukraine - 2018 Winter Olympics [sheet of 28 mascot playing sports labels]
Ukraine – 2018 Winter Olympics, released ?? 2018 [sheet of 28 sports pictogram stamps]

If you know of any stamps released for the 2018 Olympic Winter Games, please let me know in the Comments (and include an image, if you can). Also, what is your favorite Winter Olympics sport? My favorites are bob-sledding and the ski jump).

Go U.S.A.! Go Thailand!

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