By David Gold

Sochi 2014_Mascot_Stamps_27-02-12February 27 - Sochi 2014 have released a series of new stamps to celebrate the first birthday of its Olympic and Paralympic mascots.

In total 440,000 stamp sheets featuring the Polar Bear, the Leopard and the Hare, have been launched for the Olympics, and the same number released for the Paralympics, the mascots for which are the Ray of Light and the Snowflake.

Schoolchildren were the first to get their hands on the stamp sheets, with life sized mascots taking part in the unveiling ceremony.

The launch coincides with the start of the Sochi 2014 philatelic programme's second year, having released a set of stamps entitled "Sochi – capital of the 22nd Olympic Winter Games 2014" last year.

Sochi 2014_Mascot_Stamps2_27-02-12
More than 10 million stamps were released in 2011, sparking widespread interest across the country.

In total four postal blocks and 45 stamps devoted to Sochi 2014 will have been released by the start of the Olympic Games in two years' time.

The Sochi 2014 mascots were chosen following a vote a year ago in which 1.4 million people took part.

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