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Wednesday, 22 April 2015

181) A 100 Rouble Banknote issued by Russia to Commemorate the XXII Winter Olympics – (07 – 23 February 2014) held at Sochi, Russia:

181) A 100 Rouble Banknote issued by Russia to Commemorate the XXII Winter Olympics – (07 – 23 February 2014) held at Sochi, Russia:

1) For more on the Olympics and Paralympics held in the past, including the origins and history of the Olympics and Commemorative coins issued both on London Olympics and Paralympics please read my post on the London Olympics 2012 link as follows: History of the ancient & modern Olympics and Paralympics & commemorative coins issued during the London Olympics and Paralympics

2) For the Moscow Summer Olympics held in 1980: please read the post on the following link: Commemorative Coins issued on the occasion of Moscow Summer Olympics 1980 by the Russian Mint

3) For the Winter Olympics held at Sochi, Russia and the Commemorative Banknote issued, please read the post on the following link:A 100 Rouble Banknote Commemorating the Sochi, Russia Winter Olympics 2014

4) For Rio 2016, please click on the following link to get interesting insights into the mascots of the Rio Olympics Vinicius and Tom, the Games and the Commemorative Coins and stamps issue programme: 1)The 31st Summer Olympics "Rio 2016"
2) Commemorative Stamps and booklets issued by the Department of Posts, India on 05.08.2016 
5) For Ancient Olympic Games on Greek Coins of Antiquity, please click on the following link: Ancient Olympic Games on Greek Coins of Antiquity
6) For a set of Post cards titled "Olympic Events" : please click on the following link:  "Olympic Events": A set of 12 Post Cards issued by the Karnataka Postal Circle, India Post on 11.07.2016
7) For a presentation set of two stamps titled "Spirit of Olympics, Athens, Atlanta" please visit the following link: Spirit of the Olympic Games, Athens-Atlanta: Celebrating the Centenary of the Modern Olympic Games  
 8) For a presentation set of four stamps titled "XXVIII Olympic Games" (2004 Summer Olympics Athens, Greece, please visit the following link: XVIII Summer Olympic Games, Athens Greece (2004)
9) For a presentation set of two stamps titled "XXIX Olympic Games" (2008 Summer Olympics, Beijing, China, please visit the following link: XXIX Olympic Games Beijing, China: 08.08.08- 24.08.08: A Presentation set of four stamps issued by India Post on 08.08.08

A brief about the  history of the Winter Olympic Games:

The Winter Olympic Games are an International sporting event held once every four years.

Unlike the Summer Olympics, the Winter Olympics feature snow and ice sports.

The first Winter Olympics were held in 1924 at Chamonix, France where a total of five sports broken into nine disciplines took place – bobsleigh, curling, ice hockey, Nordic skiing (which comprises military patrol, cross-country skiing, Nordic combined and ski jumping) and skating (which consists of figure skating and speed-skating).

The Winter Olympic Games were held every four years thereafter until 1936, when they were kept in abeyance following the outbreak of World War II.

Thereafter, the Games resumed in 1948 and were held every four years until 1992.

In 1992, the Winter and Summer Olympic Games were held in the same year, but in keeping with a decision taken by the International Olympic Committee in 1986, the Summer and Winter Olympic Games are now convened on separate four-year cycles in alternating even-numbered years. Therefore, the next Winter Olympics were held in 1994 & every four years thereafter.

The number of sports included in the Winter Olympics has now been expanded to include – Alpine skiing, luge, ski jumping, short track speed skating, figure skating, freestyle skiing, cross-country skiing,  freestyle skiing, ice hockey, Nordic combined, skeleton and snowboarding, curling and bobsleigh, biathlon.

 Speed skiing, bandy and skijoring were treated as demonstration sports, ice stock sport, ski ballet, sled-dog race, winter penthalon etc. to attract publicity to locally popular sports by having a competition, but without giving any medals. Demonstration sports have however nbeen discontinued after 1992.

The Winter Olympic Games have been hosted on 3 Continents by 11 different countries – Austria (1964, 1976), Canada (1988, 2010), France (1924, 1968, 1992), Germany (1936), Italy (1956, 2006), Japan (1972, 1998), Norway (1952,1994), Russia (2014), Switzerland (1928,1948), USA (1932, 1960, 1980, 2002), Yugoslavia (1984).

The 2018 Olympic Winter Games are slated to be held in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Athletes from 14 countries have traditionally, participated in the Winter Olympics – Austria, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Norway, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland, UK and USA however, the field has now expanded considerably to include athletes from 88 countries in the XXII Sochi Winter Olympics held in February 2014.

No country in the Southern Hemisphere has hosted the Winter Olympics, because of dependence on winter weather for conducting these Games and the fact that the traditional February timing of the Games falls in the middle of Summer in the Southern Hemisphere.

Interestingly, a predecessor to these Games, the Nordic games, were organised by General Viktor Gustaf Balck in 1901 and these Games were held again in 1903 and 1905 and thereafter every fourth year until 1926.

XXII Olympic Winter Gamesheld at Sochi Russia, from 07-23.02.2014:

The XXII Olympic Winter Games were held at Sochi, Russia from 07th February 2014 to 23rd February 2014. The opening rounds in some events held on the eve of the opening ceremony on 06.02.2014.

Both the Olympics and 2014 Winter Paralympics were organised by the Sochi Organising Committee (SOOC).

Sochi was selected as the host city in July 2007, during the 119th IOC Session held in Guatemala City. It was the first Olympics in Russia since the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. The Soviet Union had last hosted the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow, but this is the first time that it hosted the Olympic Winter Games.

Over 2800 athletes from 88 countries participated in 98 events in 15 Winter sports disciplines which were held during the Games. The Olympic Village and Olympic Stadium were located on the Black Sea coast. All of the mountain venues were about 50 km. (or 31 miles) away in the Alpine region known as Krasnaya Polyana.

Several new competitions were added to the Games, including biathlon mixed relay, women’s ski jumping, mixed-team figure skating, mixed-team luge, half-pipe skiing, ski and snowboard slope-style and snowboard parallel slalom.

The events were held in two clusters of new venues which comprised of an Olympic Park constructed in Sochi’s Imeretinsky Valley on the coast of the Black Sea, with Fisht Olympic Stadium, and the Game’s indoor venues located within walking distance while the snow-based events were held  in the resort settlement of Krasnaya Polyana.

With a view to modernise telecommunications, provision of electricity and transportation infrastructures a total of around US $51 billion was spent as against an original estimate of US $12 billion, making this the most expensive Olympics in history, even surpassing the expenses of organising the 2008 Summer Olympics held in Beijing, the cost of which was estimated to have been around $44 billion.

The Hybrid Commemorative 100 Rouble Banknote:

On 30.10.2013, Russia issued a Hybrid Banknote to commemorate the 2014 XXII Winter Olympic Games which were held in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Russia. The release date of this Banknote was exactly 100 days before the opening ceremony of the Winter Games which were held from 07.02.2014 to 23.02.2014.

This Hybrid Banknote – cotton & polymer – has been printed in the vertical format with the polymer strip located horizontally at the lower end of the Banknote.

This Commemorative banknote underlines the importance and value of architecture in major international sporting events which is as significant as the Olympic Games themselves.

The Banknote’s designer, Pavel Bushev, is a student of the Repin Institute of the St. Petersburg Academy of Arts who won a contest to design the Banknote.

The interesting part is that this is the first ever Commemorative Banknote to be issued by Russia. It is the first Russian Banknote ever to feature a vertically oriented images. This is also the first time that a Banknote was issued by any country commemorating a Winter Olympics and the fourth such Banknote overall commemorating any type of Olympics. The other three Banknotes were issued by the People’s Republic of China (RMB 10 – depicting the Bird’s Nest stadium and an ancient Greek Discus Thrower statue, the Diskobolus of Myron emblazoned across the ten Yuan Banknote), Hong Kong (HKD 20) and Macau (MOP 20) all of which were issued in commemoration of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Approximately 20 million pieces were issued with the prefixes – “AA”, “Aa” and “aa”.

On the Front of the 100 Rouble Commemorative Banknote (vertical orientation/view) is a holographic flame, snowboarder and mountains as well as Olympic venues in Sochi. The flying snowboarder is shown as executing an exuberant “grab” high above a handful of Olympic Park’s venues and a backdrop of snow-covered mountains including Mount Fisht and the Sochi coastal cluster.

 At the top of the Banknote is the double-headed heraldic eagle of the Russian federation, which has its origins in Imperialistic Russia. Next to it is inscribed in Russian “Banknote of the Bank of Russia”.

 An inscription on the lower left periphery in small print is a warning that forgery of this Banknote is punishable under Russian Law.

The Banknote image given below has been issued with the prefix ‘aa” and bears the Serial Number “8847202”.

 Vertical view of the Front of the 100 Rouble Banknote Commemorating the Sochi XXII Winter Olympic Games

Horizontal view of the Front of the 100 Rouble Banknote Commemorating the Sochi XXII Winter Olympic Games

On the Back of the 100 Rouble commemorative Banknote (vertical orientation/view) is the SPARK bird ( or a Fire-Bird) and the Fisht Stadium in Sochi against a  tapestry of Winter Olympic events with images of athletes including skiers, ski jumpers, skaters, hockey player, curler and bobsled team in the background.

“Sochi 2014” is mentioned in Russian directly above the denomination “100” on the lower left side.

There is a Vitrail Security Thread on the Back. 

Vertical view of the Back of the 100 Rouble Banknote Commemorating the Sochi XXII Winter Olympic Games

Horizontal view of the Front of the 100 Rouble Banknote Commemorating the Sochi XXII Winter Olympic Games

Other notable Features of the Banknote:

The Banknote has been printed on high quality white cotton paper.

The denomination of the Banknote “One hundred Roubles is mentioned in Russian along the bottom of the Banknote on both sides.

 A transparent polymer security stripe is embedded into the paper to make a transparent window incorporating an optically variable element in the form of a snow-flake which is clearly seen against a bright light/sunlight.

The oval-shaped Watermark is located beneath the building complex. The Watermark is “ 2014 and Olympic rings”.

The colour of the Banknote is blue tinted with shades of  green and orange.

The Dimensions of the Banknote are: 150 mm x 65 mm.

This Commemorative Banknote has been printed by the State owned printing facility Goznak in Moscow, where all Russian Rouble Banknotes are printed since June 1919.

Both sides of the Banknote have highly attractive and colourful artwork and have been printed using a complex 10 screen process. The Banknotes also have incorporated in them several anti-counterfeiting measures such as raised watermarks and embossed/raised print.

Commemorative Coins celebrating the Sochi Winter Olympics - 2014:

On 15.04.2011, the Central Bank of the Russian Federation launched the “Sochi 2014” coin programme and announced the issue of the first of four Commemorative Coin Series to commemorate the Sochi Winter Olympics 2014.

This Coin Programme included commemorative and bullion coins of precious metals as well as base metal coins. While the precious metal coins – gold & silver were targeted at Collectors only, the base metal coins were released into general circulation. The Commemorative coins had a rectangular shape. The coins were issued from 2011 to 2013 by the Central Bank in a total of 46 designs of both bullion and Commemorative varieties in the four Series with an overall mintage of around 37 million pieces.

On 15.04.2011 itself, the First Commemorative Coin Series was kick-started with the issue of a silver proof Commemorative Coin in the denomination of 100 Roubles “Biathlon”, “Figure skating”, Alpine Skiing” and “Ice Hockey”.  A Gold Proof Commemorative Coin in the denomination of 1000 Roubles titled the “Flora of Sochi” and a Commemorative Coin of Base Metals in the denomination of 25 Roubles were also issued on this date.

Later on 01.09.2011, under the same Series, Gold Proof Commemorative coins in the denomination of 50 Roubles “Bobsleigh” and “Curling” and Silver Proof Commemorative Coins in the denomination of 100 Roubles titled “Russian Winter” were also issued.

The entire series proved to be extremely popular with Collectors and enthusiasts, across the Globe.

Commemorative stamps:

In addition, a series of special stamps were issued Commemorating the XXII Olympic Winter Games and Paralympic Winter Games held in Sochi in 2014.  The Commemorative stamps included a few non-Olympic sports and awards that winning athletes received at the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi.

In addition, several countries too issued first day covers/stamps to commemorate the XXII Olympic Winter Games in 2013/2014.

The above is an image of a First Day Cover issued by the Himalayan Nation of Nepal. 
On the top of the envelope is mentioned “Sansnaratmak Aavaran” in Devnagri and “Commemorative Cover” in English. The three Sochi Winter Olympic mascots the Leopard, the Hare and the Polar Bear.are shown in the left centre. The Stamp on the right hand side reads “R.3.25, Olympics 1976”  and shows a running athlete.The cancellation stamp reads “22nd Winter Olympics – 2014, GPO Kathmandu, Nepal”. On the lower bottom is mentioned “The 22nd Olympic winter Games, 7 to 23 February 2014, Sochi, Russia” and “To commemorate the Russia Winter Olympics 2014” – Sports Philatelic Exhibition. On the lower right hand side is shown the emblem of the Olympic Games – Five differently coloured interlocking rings.

The XXII Winter Olympics mascots:

            The Olympic Mascots as seen on three Russian stamps

The Leopard, the Polar Bear and the Hare were the official mascots of the XXII Winter Olympics selected out of a short list of 11 designs on which there was a nation-wide voting conducted for Russians to choose their favourite mascots. The 11 designs were shortlisted from about 24000 entries received through a nation-wide design contest.

             The Paralympic Mascots as seen on a Russian stamp

The Ray of Light and the Snowflake were adopted as the Paralympic Mascots through the above-mentioned process.

Fisht: Sochi Winter Olympic Stadium:

                                A view of the Sochi stadium

Fisht, the open air Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Stadium was designed by Populous and British Design Consultancy Buro Happold. The stadium was built at a cost of $789 million approx.

The Stadium is named after Mount Fisht and was built in the Sochi Olympic Park. The Stadium has a capacity of 40000 persons and is located within walking distance of the Olympic village. The Stadium also provided a seaside setting for the Opening and closing Ceremonies of the 2014 Winter Olympics and Paralympics.

The Stadium’s roof was built from 36,500 sq. metres (or 393,000 sq. ft.) of ETFE (“Ethylene Tetra- Fluoro-Ethylene”). The vision of the Olympic Stadium was to give the roof of the structure an appearance of simulating snowy peaks, ensuring that it sits in harmony with the backdrop of the Imeretinskays Valley and the Caucasus Mountains.

 The bowl of the stadium opened to the North, presenting the visitors with a direct view of the Krasnaya Polyana Mountains. The upper portion of the stadium was open to the South, giving the visitors a view of the Black Sea on the shores of which Sochi is situated.

Fisht has also been identified as one of the four to host the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup and it is one of the 11 venues which will host matches in the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

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