United States Postal Service  

Contact: Media Relations 202-268-2155
July 14, 2004
Stamp News Release No. 04-048


WILMA RUDOLPH, TRACK AND FIELD OLYMPIAN, TO BE HONORED ON U.S. POSTAGE STAMPWASHINGTON — Wilma Rudolph, track and field legend, was honored today when the U.S. Postal Service issued a twenty-three cent definitive postage stamp recognizing her achievements. The first-day-of-issue dedication ceremony was held at 12:30 p.m. (PST) on the west steps of the State Capitol building, Sacramento, CA. The ceremonies were part of festivities surrounding the start of the 2004 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Track and Field, taking place July 9-18, at the Alex G. Spanos Sports Complex at California State University, Sacramento.

“The United States Postal Service is pleased to honor such a remarkable woman whose unforgettable smile will grace a new postage stamp in our Distinguished Americans stamp series,” said Henry A. Pankey, Vice President, Emergency Preparedness, U.S. Postal Service, who dedicated the stamp. “At the Postal Service, we understand the power our stamps have in helping to celebrate special people — like Wilma Rudolph –- who has helped to define our world. In this small way, we have created a lasting tribute to her perseverance and accomplishments.”

Joining Pankey to dedicate the stamp were U.S. Olympic medalists Bob Beamon, Michael Johnson, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Bob Mathias, Bill Mills and the celebrated Tennessee State Tigerbelle Olympians.

The Rudolph stamp is fifth in the Distinguished Americans series. It was designed by Richard Sheaff of Scottsdale, AZ. Artist Mark Summers of Waterdown, Ontario, Canada, created the portrait for the stamp, referencing a photograph of Rudolph taken after she won three gold medals at the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome. Summers also was the artist for the first four stamps in the Distinguished Americans series — Joseph W. Stilwell (2000), Claude Pepper (2000), Hattie W. Caraway (2001) and Edna Ferber (2002).

As host city for this first-day-of-issue dedication ceremony, Sacramento holds the unique distinction of being the nation’s only city where the stamp is available today. The stamp will be available at Post Offices and Philatelic Centers nationwide July 15.

To see the Wilma Rudolph stamp and other images from the 2004 Commemorative Stamp Program, visit the Postal Store at www.usps.com/shop and click on “Release Schedule” in the Collector’s Corner.

Current U.S. stamps and stationery, as well as a free comprehensive catalog, are available by toll-free telephone order at 1-800-STAMP-24. A wide selection of stamps and other philatelic items also are available at the Postal Store at www.usps.com/shop, and www.postalartgallery.com offers beautifully framed prints of original stamp art for delivery straight to the home or office.

Since 1775, the U.S. Postal Service has connected friends, families, neighbors and businesses by mail. An independent federal agency, the Postal Service makes deliveries to about 141 million addresses every day and is the only service provider to deliver to every address in the nation. The Postal Service receives no taxpayer dollars for routine operations, but derives its operating revenues solely from the sale of postage, products and services. With annual revenues of more than $68 billion, it is the world’s leading provider of mail and delivery services, offering some of the most affordable postage rates in the world. Moreover, today’s postage rates will remain stable until at least 2006. The U.S. Postal Service delivers more than 46 percent of the world’s mail volume -- some 202 billion letters, advertisements, periodicals and packages a year -- and serves seven million customers each day at its 38,000 retail locations nationwide.

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