World Stamps

A pair of countries are issuing stamps to honor their Rio 2016 medalists

May 3, 2021, 5 PM

By Denise McCarty

For the Rio 2016 Summer Olympics, Australia Post is continuing its 16-year tradition of issuing stamps for Australian gold medalists, while New Zealand Post is starting a new tradition of issuing stamps for all New Zealand medalists. This includes bronze and silver medalists in addition to gold.

Such stamps are often referred to as “instant” stamps and usually go on sale to the public the day after an Olympic win.

For example, trap shooter Natalie Rooney won the first medal for New Zealand’s team on Aug. 7. Early in the morning on Aug. 8, New Zealand Post emailed the announcement of a new $1 stamp showing Rooney holding her silver medal.

This stamp is being sold in panes of six.

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New Zealand won a second silver in women’s rugby on Aug. 8, but the design of the stamp showing the 12 members of the rugby team wasn’t revealed until early Aug. 12. 

In a comment on its Facebook page, New Zealand Post’s philatelic bureau (New Zealand Stamps and Coins) had said that the approval process was taking longer than expected.

As of Aug. 12, New Zealand’s team had garnered an additional three medals and had announced the stamps for them: Eric Murray and Hamish Bond, gold, men’s coxless pair; Ethan Mitchell, Sam Webster and Eddie Dawkins, silver, track cycling men’s team sprint; and Luuka Jones, silver, women’s kayak single. 

New Zealand Post has said that after the conclusion of the Rio 2016 Games (Aug. 5-21), it will issue a sheet of stamps containing one of each of the Rio 2016 medalist stamps.

Australia Post has issued stamps for all of its Olympic gold medalists, in both Summer and Winter Games, since the Sydney Summer Olympics in 2000.

Australia’s first three gold medalist stamps for the Rio 2016 Games were announced Aug. 9. 

These $1 stamps, all being sold in panes of 10, commemorate the gold-medal wins of Mack Horton, men’s 400 meters freestyle swimming; Emma McKeon, Brittany Elmslie and sisters Bronte and Cate Campbell, women’s 4 by 100m freestyle relay; and Catherine Skinner, women’s trap shooting.

Kitty Chiller, chef de mission of the Australian Olympic team, said: “We are extremely proud of the performance of our first three gold medal winning athletes — it is a great honour for them to win a gold medal for their country and fulfill their Olympic dreams. Having this incredible moment immortalised on a stamp is a wonderful way for Australia to honour them in return.”

On Aug. 10, Australia Post announced the stamps for Australia’s gold medal in women’s rugby. 

Australia Post said that this stamp showing the team of 12 is the 64th gold medalist stamp since the program began at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.

Australia’s fifth gold medal at the Rio 2016 games was won on Aug. 11 by Kyle Chambers in men’s 100m freestyle swimming. The stamp showing the 18-year-old swimmer holding his medal, the 65th gold medalist stamp since 2000, was issued Aug. 12, according to Australia Post.

Check out the websites for the New Zealand Rio Olympic medalists stamps and Australia Rio Olympic medalists stamps.