Estonia became independent from Russia in 1918 and first competed as a nation at the VII Olympiad, the 1920 Summer Olympic Games held in Antwerp, Belgium. In 2020 Estonia issued a special pure silver stamp to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the first gold medal win for Estonia by Alfred Neuland in the lightweight weightlifting event.
The stamps featured a photograph of Neuland and were produced as a 10,000 limited-edition run, 500 of which came in special gift boxes. Alfred Neuman was also a silver medal winner at the 1924 Paris Olympics.
The 1896 Games featured the first Olympic Marathon race, which followed the 25-mile route run by the Greek soldier from Marathon to Athens in 490 B.C. He was the messenger who brought news of victory over the Persians at the battle of Marathon during the first Persian invasion of Greece. The winner of the 1896 Olympic event was Greece’s Spyridon Louis. The stamp above top left features a depiction of Panathinaiko Stadium, with the Acropolis in the background. The 10 D. denomination features the Acropolis and the Parthenon in Athens, Greece. The bottom left stamp depicts an ancient Greek amphora showing the goddess Minerva. Bottom middle stamp features the 4th Century B.C. statue of Hermes holding the infant Dionysus, made by Praxiteles – the most renowned of the Attica sculptors of the 4th century B.C. The statue is currently in the Archeological Museum at Olympia. The stamp bottom right has the 450 B.C. statue of the goddess of victory, Nike, by the sculptor Paionios. The 1896 Olympic Games Greek stamps, were re-valued and overprinted during 1900 and 1901.
Uruguay made its Olympic debut at the Paris 1924 Games and immediately had success in the men’s football tournament. The Uruguayan team went unbeaten at the Games, scoring 10 goals with none against in its first two wins over Yugoslavia and the United States of America. Uruguay then put five past France in the quarter-finals. A 2-1 victory over the Netherlands in the semi-finals was followed by a 3-0 win over Switzerland in the final.
In its gold medal defence at the 1928 Games, the Uruguayan football team beat hosts the Netherlands 2-0 in the first match, Germany in the quarter-finals and Italy in the semi-finals on its way to facing Argentina in the gold medal match. A replay was required when the first match finished 1-1 after extra time. Uruguay won the replay 2-1 to achieve back-to-back Olympic titles. The success of the Olympic football tournaments in 1924 and 1928 would lead to the creation of the World Cup, with the inaugural tournament hosted, and won, by Uruguay in 1930.
For the 1924 Paris Olympics Lebanon issued 4 special postage stamps overprinted “GRAND LIBAN”.
The Netherlands hosted the 1928 games and the Olympic Flame was lit for the first time for the duration of the Olympics, a tradition that continues to this day. These Games were the first to bear the name “Summer Olympic Games”, to distinguish them from the Winter Olympic Games.
The 1932 Olympics were held in Los Angeles. The Games were held during the worldwide Great Depression and some nations did not travel to Los Angeles; 37 nations competed compared to 46 in the 1928 Summer Olympics in Amsterdam.
In a bid to outdo the 1932 Games held in Los Angeles, Germany’s Reich Chancellor Adolf Hitler had a new 100,000-seat stadium built, as well as six gymnasiums and other smaller arenas. The Games were the first to be televised and radio broadcasts reached 41 countries. The American athlete Jesse Owens was the most successful competitor at the games, winning four gold medals in the sprint and long jump events.
At the time of writing all stamps featured in the article are available to purchase at PostBeeld.com