A free summer exhibition exploring the history, symbolism and personal stories of the Olympic Games, presented by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), was officially opened at the British Library, London tonight and will run until 9 September.
“Olympex 2012: Collecting the Olympic Games” is a visually striking exhibition that will use postage stamps, postcards, letters, programmes and maps to provide unique insights into the Olympic Games, past and present. Beginning with the first modern Olympic Games in 1896, Olympex 2012 will also focus on the London Games in 1908 and 1948, bringing the story into the present day with the London 2012 Games.
Reflecting the manner in which the Olympic spirit touches the individual spirit, the exhibition is drawn largely from the philatelic collections of private individuals. The interests of these individual collectors give this exhibition a unique character and demonstrate how each of us can become involved in curating the Olympic story.
More than 2,500 stamps will feature, tracing the way that Olympic iconography has evolved across more than a century. Also included are handwritten postcards and letters from athletes, spectators and public figures – recording with vivid immediacy the ways in which the Games touched their lives.
IOC President Jacques Rogge said: “The IOC is delighted to have the British Library as its partner in this exhibition. The Library’s international reputation for bringing stories to life makes it the natural home for this fascinating and unique view of Olympic history.”
Frances Brindle, the British Library’s Director of Strategic Marketing and Communications, said: “The British Library is thrilled to be working with the IOC on Olympex 2012. Each stamp, postcard and letter to be featured tells a story – understanding who sent them, and to whom, gives very personal insights into historical events.”
Olympex 2012: Collecting the Olympic Games is part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad. The exhibition will be held in the Front Hall of the British Library, St Pancras, from 25 July to 9 September. Admission is free.
Further information is available from the British Library website.