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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2002 Express Publishing Inc.
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For the week of June 12 - 18, 2002


Gretchen Fraser could be honored with a stamp

Express Staff Writer

Sun Valley’s Gretchen Fraser, who was the United States’ first winter Olympic gold medalist in skiing, could be honored on a U.S. Postal Service stamp in 2004.

Fraser won gold in the alpine slalom skiing event at the 1948 Winter Olympics in St. Moritz, Switzerland. She also nabbed a silver medal in the combined, an event that meshes slalom and downhill racing.

"The American flag went up in St. Moritz, Switzerland, that day and the world was charmed by a petite, pigtailed American racer who accepted the medals with humility and poise," according to an essay Sun Valley Co. submitted to the U.S. Postal Service.

The process by which an idea becomes a stamp, however, is difficult, and only a small percentage of the 40,000 annual submissions ever end up on envelopes. Since 1957, a 15-member board appointed by the Postmaster General, called the Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee, has evaluated all stamp proposals.

The committee follows several very strict rules, including one requiring that people only be honored 10 years after their death, "usually on a significant birthday."

U.S. presidents constitute the exception to that rule.

With those rules in mind, Sun Valley submitted an application in October to commemorate the United States’ skiing heritage.

"We requested a Gretchen Fraser stamp on the tenth anniversary of her death. She died in 1994 in Sun Valley," Sun Valley Co. Marketing and Public Relations Director Jack Sibbach said.

The essay elaborated further.

"Thus, in the year 2004, 10 years after Fraser’s death and in the year the Olympic Games return to their roots in Athens, Greece, it seems fitting that America should have a stamp honoring a historic American Olympian.

"There are few United States stamps depicting skiing, and none that we know of depicting an individual."

Sibbach, who conceived of the idea, said there is no way he knows of to monitor the Fraser stamp proposal’s success or failure.

"We’ve even asked some of our political people here in Idaho to give us a hand with that, but, unfortunately, there’s no way for us to contact this advisory committee," he said.


The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.