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Australian Post Office Honors Country's Olympic Winners

Aired September 20, 2000 - 1:21 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: In overall competition, the United States leads the Olympic gold medal count with 10. The host country, Australia is second, with seven. The Australians have found a special way to celebrate their champions.

CNN's John Raedler reports on athletes who are "pushing the envelope" in more ways than one.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOHN RAEDLER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As stamp collectors say, philately will get you everywhere. It's certainly getting the Australian post office somewhere. Every time Australia wins a gold medal in the Olympics, the post office is issuing a commemorative stamp the next day.

ROWLAND HILL, AUSTRALIA POST: This is a world first. No other country's done it, and we're very proud of it, another world record for Australia.

RAEDLER: Digital technology is the key to this world record. It allows for the stamp to be designed, half-a-million of them printed and then distributed in less than 24 hours.

(on camera): The stamps are sold at post offices like this, 67 of them around Australia, and they sell out in about two hours.

(voice-over): That's half as long as some people wait to buy them.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why do I do it? Oh, because these are special stamps, and it's the first-day issue.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I came Sunday, Monday, today. I hope to get here again tomorrow if we win more gold.

RAEDLER: The post office does not expect to make money on the increased business. It is doing it to make two points.

HILL: First one, acknowledge the athletes. Second one, show that we're a modern -- a very modern organization.

RAEDLER: And with Australia's athletes on course to win a record number of gold medals, the post office might be a very busy organization.

John Raedler, CNN, Sydney.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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