Royal Mail will issue a special mini-sheet of stamps to coincide with the spectacular opening of the London 2012 Olympic Games on 27 July.
The sheet of four stamps features a quartet of Olympic sports: Diving, Fencing, Athletics and Cycling 'merged' with four iconic London landmarks: Tate Modern, Tower Bridge, the Olympic Stadium and the London Eye.
To bring out the best of these striking composite images Royal Mail is using one of its widest formats for the mini-sheet
which contains two 1st class stamps and two £1.28 stamps.
The two 1st Class stamps feature a fencer's lunge meeting the walkway of Tower Bridge, while runners powering round the curve of a track, 'run' into the Olympic Stadium.
The £1.28 stamps show a diver's arrow-like vertical descent mirroring Tate Modern's imposing 325 foot chimney, while the London Eye's iconic Ferris Wheel becomes the front wheel of an Olympic racing bike.
However, once the drama and excitement of the Opening Ceremony is over and the Olympic Flame is burning bright, it's all about the sport.
Some 10,500 athletes from more than 200 different nations will line up to contest 302 gold medals in a total of 39 disciplines across 26 very diverse sports.
Athletics dominates the gold medal opportunities, with 47 medals, but the Olympics isn't all centred on the Olympic Park, with competitors going for gold at 34 different venues across the UK – another great reason to welcome everyone to the greatest sporting event on the planet.
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NOTES TO EDITORS
Stamps and stamp products are available at most Post Office branches, online at www.royalmail.com/bethefirst and from Royal Mail Tallents House (tel. 08457 641 641), 21 South Gyle Crescent, Edinburgh, EH12 9PB.
Some London 2012 Olympic Facts and Figures
An estimated audience of one billion – 15 per cent of the world's population – tuned in to watch the spectacular Beijing 2008 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony live.
A total of 70,000 volunteers will help make the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games run smoothly.
21,000 accredited media communicating the Games to a potential worldwide audience of four billion people.
There have been a total of 8,000 Olympic torchbearers, travelling 8,000 miles to over 1,000 communities, villages, towns and cities and 95 per cent of the UK population will be within 10 miles of the flame.
The Olympic Stadium was built using 10,000 tonnes of steel, making it 75 per cent lighter than other stadiums in terms of steel use. There are also 700 rooms in the Olympic Stadium
The Aquatics Centre's spectacular 160 metre wave-like roof weighs 2,800 tonnes, while the two 50 metre swimming pools and the diving pool, contain 10 million litres of water.
First Day Cover - Mail Order Price: £4.99
The First Day Cover Envelope was designed by hat-trick design. The filler card designed by hat-trick design and is written by Jim Davies.
Stamp Cards - Price £2.25 the set
Five postcards bearing enlarged images of each of the Welcome to the London 2012 Olympic Games stamps and the miniature sheet go on sale about a week before the stamp issue date. Printed by Pureprint.
2012 Olympic Countdown Coin Cover -£17.50
This is the fourth and final Coin Cover in a series that has charted the dramatic development of the London 2012 Olympic programme. Issued in a limited edition of 15,000, the Olympic Countdown Coin Cover features the official Welcome to the London 2012 Olympic Games Miniature Sheet, alongside the official Royal Mint brilliant, uncirculated Olympic Countdown Coin.
2012 Olympic Countdown Coin Cover – Silver Proof - £99.50
Only available in a limited edition of 500, this coin cover has the same product description as above, but with a Solid Silver Proof Coin in place of the brilliant, uncirculated version.
Two different pictorial 'first day of issue postmarks' are available for every new stamp issue:
Unstamped Royal Mail First Day Cover envelopes (price 30p) will be available from Post Officeâ branches and philatelic outlets approximately one week before issue. Collectors who hand in or post covers at main Post Officeâ branches will receive the pictorial LONDON E20 first day postmark.
Alternatively, collectors may send stamped covers for the first day of issue to Royal Mail, Tallents House, 21 South Gyle Crescent, Edinburgh EH12 9PB, quoting reference FD12 35 (Tallents House) or to any Special Handstamp Centre quoting reference FD12 36 LONDON E20 pictorial postmark) FD12 36NP (non-pictorial).
LONDON E20 was chosen as the postmark because it is the location of the Olympic Park.
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