1994 29¢ Ice Dancing
· The1994 Winter Olympics stamps were voted the second most popular of 1994
· Placed ninth in the USPS’s All-Time Top 10 Most Popular Commemorative Stamps List
Stamp Category: Commemorative
Set: 1994 Winter Olympics
First Day of Issue: January 6, 1994
First Day City: Salt Lake City, Utah
Quantity Issued: 38,800,000
Printed by: Ashton-Potter
Printing Method: Lithographed
Format: Panes of 20 in sheets of 120; offset printing plates of 240
Microprinting: “1994” and “WINTERSPORTS” in black microprinting for increased security.
Why the stamp was issued: To commemorate the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway, which ran from February 12-27, 1994.
About the stamp design: These 1994 Winter Olympics stamps featured artwork by Lon Busch, who had previously designed the 1992 Winter Olympics stamps (US #2611-15). Busch’s airbrushed images have a glow to them, meant to imply the athletes had a bright light shining on them. Also, each stamp features the color of one of the Olympic rings – the Alpine skier is blue, the luge is yellow, the ice dancing is black, the Nordic skier is green, and the ice hockey is red.
Busch created his stamp designs from photographs and the ice dancing image was one of two in the set that required significant changes. The female ice dancer was reworked – removing leg warmers, giving her a more modest top, and lowering her leg. After the stamp was issued, a figure skater commented that she should be wearing a skirt, per Winter Olympic rules. However, Linn’s Stamp News noted that it could depict exhibition skating, which doesn’t have a dress code. Further, the stamp designs were approved by the US Olympic Committee.
Special design details: “WINTERSPORTS” is microprinted in a small dark line below the female ice dancer’s left skate and “1994” is microprinted in the lower part of the male ice dancer’s skate.
First Day City: Salt Lake City, Utah – America’s proposed city to host the 2002 Winter Olympics.
Unusual fact about this stamp: These 1994 Winter Olympics stamps have been found with two sizes of perforation holes, though the gauge is the same – 11.2 holes per two centimeters. While Ashton Potter found no issues with their equipment, the USPS offered two potential causes for the variations. One could be wear on the perforation pins, and the other could be differences in pressure when stacks of stamp sheets were perforated at the same time.
About the 1994 Winter Olympics Stamps: The 1994 Winter Olympics stamps continued a long-standing USPS tradition of issuing stamps to honor the international sporting event. The US issued its first Olympic stamps in 1932 honoring the Winter Games in Lake Placid, New York and the Summer Games in Los Angeles, California. They didn’t issue Olympic stamps again until 1960, when the Games returned to the US. Since 1972, the USPS has issued stamps for every Olympic Games, regardless of where they’re held.
History the stamp represents: The 1994 Winter Olympics were applauded for the beautiful landscape and venues as well as the enthusiastic fans. In all, 1,737 athletes participated (1,215 men and 522 women) in 61 events in six sports. These were the first Winter Games to not be held the same year as the Summer Games, due a change that placed them two years apart. Norway won the most medals (26) but Russia had the most gold (11).
Gliding over the ice so gracefully and effortlessly, ice dancers often leave their audience spellbound. Combining skating with ballroom dancing, ice dancing differs from pair skating in several ways.
In ice dancing the couple may separate only briefly to change direction or position. Movements of strength and daring skill which are inconsistent with dance, particularly lifts and jumps, are not allowed. And each partner must keep at least one skate on the ice, except during brief lifts and spins when the woman may have both skates off the ice.
In ice dancing competition, the couple must perform in three events: compulsory dances, original set pattern dances, and free dancing. In compulsory dances the couple must perform two particular dances to the same music. These dances must be performed according to official diagrams. In the original set pattern dance the couple may choose their own steps and music, however they must follow a certain dance rhythm set in advance. In free dancing the couple may select their own music and combinations of movements.
Originating in 1880 Austria, when the Vienna Skating Club adapted the waltz, ice dancing became an Olympic event in 1976.