The year 2012 was rich in sporting events, and above all, the Summer Olympic Games in London are to be mentioned.
But in spite of the grandeur of this event, and of the fact that practically all the countries celebrated the Olympics by the issue of stamps, and some even were able to promptly (within several days) launch special issues commemorating their medal winners, frankly speaking, there are a few really outstanding stamps on the Olympic themes we could single out.
Moreover, top winners of our ranking don't concern the London Olympics. Or, to be more precise, one of the winner stamps is actually about the Olympics, if you look closely.
However, other "Olympians" only close the StampNews.com sports ranking. Here we go:
"For Sports 2012" stamp series from Germany
The German post issued three stamps to celebrate the most important sporting events for Germany and the whole world in 2012: Football Championship in Poland and Ukraine, Olympic Games in London and Table Tennis Championship in Dortmund.
The stamps were designed by Jens Muller und Karen Weiland, Dusseldorf.
HockeyBird skates into the ice hockey world championship tournament's official stamp
Second place of our ranking goes to Finland.
The official stamp of the ice hockey world championship 2012 tournament organized in Helsinki, Finland portrays the widely noted mascot HockeyBird.
Mascots of the XXII Winter Olympics and XI Winter Paralympics 2014 in Sochi
Russia issued a series of stamps announcing the upcoming Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics.
The stamp blocks are dedicated to the mascots of the Winter Olympics and Paralympics 2014. They depict Leopard, Polar Bear and Hare and talismans of the XI Winter Paralympic Games – Snowflake and Ray of Light.
#4. Handball silver stamp from France
After football and rugby issues in 2010 and 2011, the French Post completed its "Sport team" series by issue of a silver stamp dedicated to handball. The 5 euro self-adhesive stamp is manufactured from silver and the figure of a handball player is relief.
#5. Italian Sports: Giulio Onesti stamp
The Italian stamp commemorates the 100th anniversary of birthday of the legendary Italian sports manager and member of the International Olympic Committee Giulio Onesti (January 4, 1912 – December 11, 1981).
The stamp features main facade of the Headquarters of the Italian National Olympic Committee in Rome, together with a number of silhouettes of athletes representing the main sports that form part of the Olympics.
#6. 100th Grey Cup Game Stamp from Canada
To salute the champions of the historic 100th Grey Cup Game played at Toronto's Roger's Centre on November 25, 2012, Canada Post issued a unique 100th Grey Cup stamp, in booklets of 10, overprinted with the Toronto Argonauts' logo. The cover of each booklet is overprinted with a special congratulatory message.
Our ranking is closed by a selection of Olympic stamps taking 7th-10th places.
#7. Olympic mascot Wenlock on Singaporean stamps
The 7th place goes to the Singaporean stamps.
Showcasing the official London 2012 Olympic mascot Wenlock in the sports poses, this set of four stamps highlights just some of the sporting action to be displayed at the Olympics. Popular sports are artfully illustrated by the mascot, buzzing with energy. Table Tennis, Swimming, Sailing and Badminton are the sports to watch for Singapore.
Hungary goes next.
#8. 30th Summer Olympic Games on Hungarian stamps
By these stamps Magyar Posta welcomes the 30th Summer Olympic Games, the greatest sporting event in the world.
The series in two denominations were designed by graphic artist Agnes Berta and printed by the State Printing Company. In keeping with tradition the artist immortalized a moment from two branches of sport on the Olympic stamps, swimming and kayaking.
The next place is taken by Australia: it is the second of three series being released by Australia Post for the Games of the XXX Olympiad in London.
#9. 30th Summer Olympic Games on Australian stamps
The issue, which carries the symbol of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), commemorates the performances of Australia's athletes at the Olympic Games. Represented on the stamps is the sport of Rowing, discipline of Swimming and event of Pole Vault. These subjects are indicative of Australian athletes' strengths at past Olympic Games: historically most medals won by Australian athletes have been in Swimming, Athletics, Cycling and Rowing.
And finally another Olympic series containing funny stamps.
#10. 30th Summer Olympic Games on Costa Rica stamps
Correos de Costa Rica issued a stamp sheet dedicated to the XXX Olympic Games in London. The stamps designed by Cristian Ramirez Vargas illustrate the Olympic disciplines of athletics and taekwondo.
In the Special Nomination we would like to award stamps issued in honor of Paralympic Games in London.
These are stamps from Finland:
The two Finnish stamps in the Disabled Sports miniature sheet depict Leo-Pekka Tahti, the World Record holder in wheelchair racing, World Champion and Paralympic gold medallist, and Saana-Maria Sinisalo, an archer who has finished in points winning places in the World Championships.
… and stamps from the United Nations
To commemorate the 2012 Summer Paralympic Games, the United Nations Postal Administration issued stamps featuring six Paralympic sports.