The Sochi 2014 Mascots celebrated their first birthday with the launch of the new stamp sheets featuring the Olympic mascots - Polar Bear, the Leopard, and the Hare, and the Paralympic mascots - the Ray of Light and the Snowflake. A total of 440,000 stamp sheets have been released, half illustrated with Olympic mascots alongside the same number featuring Paralympic ones. Schoolchildren in Sochi were the first lucky owners of the unique stamp sheets.
Life sized Mascots’ puppets took part in the ceremony of the memorable cancellation of the stamp sheets – together with kids they watched a short film on the Sochi 2014 Legacy and took part in Olympic quiz.
The launch of the stamp sheets featuring the Mascots, and of a decoratively bound Collector's Edition, marked the beginning of the Sochi 2014 philatelic program's second year. Already in April 2012 there will be a continuation of last year's series, "XXII Olympic Winter Games in Sochi. Tourism on the Black Sea Coast of Russia." And in October 2012 there will be new additions to the series: "XXII Olympic Winter Games in Sochi. Olympic Winter sports."
The Sochi 2014 philatelic program started last year with the launch of a stamp sheet entitled "Sochi - Capital of XXII Olympic Winter Games 2014." Moreover, the first stamps were released in the series "XXII Olympic Winter Games in Sochi. Tourism on the Black Sea Coast of Russia" and "XXII Olympic Winter Games in Sochi. Olympic Winter sports". In total, 10 192,000 stamps were released in 2011. The first few months of last year showed that there is widespread interest in the Sochi 2014 stamps, both among Russian stamp collectors and more broadly across the country.
Altogether, four postal blocks, 45 stamps devoted to different stories, and postcards, together with sets of all released stamps in decorative cover and other philatelic output will have been released by the 2014 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi. The themes of the Sochi 2014 postage products will cover winter sports, Olympic sports venues and views of Krasnodar Region.
The Sochi 2014 Mascots were chosen during the all-Russian vote on the Channel One Russia on 26 February. More than 1.4 million people took part in it. It is an “Olympic record” – for the first time in history so many people voted during the live television show in Russia. As a result, the Hare, the Polar Bear and the Leopard have been chosen as the official Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games mascots and the Ray of Light and the Snowflake have been chosen as the official Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games mascots.