Olympic Timekeeping at Vancouver Winter Games

While watching some of the events of the Olympics in Vancouver, I was amazed that in so many cases the winner was determined as the result of a photo finish. And furthermore, the gold, silver and bronze finishers were separated by a mere 1/100th of a second.

That got me to thinking about the timekeeping responsibility – like in nobody better screw up cause it can’t be re-done. I was certain that there would be tons of redundancy, but got curious about something really unusual happening like a mass power outage – surely they had battery backups as well.Vancouver Olympic Alpine

Well a little digging under the covers showed all is well. Omega is once again the official winter games timekeeper for Vancouver continuing a decades long legacy of being entrusted with this tremendous responsibility.

It is said that on their first assignment for the 1936 winter games in Germany, there was a lone Omega technician who brought 27 stopwatches that were used to time each event.

Omega WatchesFast forward to today and we have the largest timekeeping contingent in the history of winter sports. We’re told that OMEGA deployed 220 timekeeping professionals and engineers supported by 290 local volunteers. Also, they’re bringing some 250 tons of equipment, no doubt including devices for redundancy, waterproof camera gear and more for timekeeping, on-venue results and TV services.

That is incredible, but certainly reduces the possibility of mistakes to something less than negligible. Omega claims to be the worlds most successful sports timekeepers and they seem to be taking every precaution to ensure they can retain the claim.

For one of your own check out this model from the Omega Olympic Collection. An Omega Seamaster self-winding chronometer with a rhodium-plated finish and 2 day power reserve, it’s tough under an anti-reflective, domed scratch-resistant sapphire crystal.

Made for diving, it’s water-resistant down to depths of 1000 feet or 300 meters, and features a helium escape valve along with a screw-in crown and unidirectional rotating bezel. Sized for gents, it has a diameter of 41mm.


Get more details on this Omega Seamaster watch

One Response to Olympic Timekeeping at Vancouver Winter Games

  1. You really can’t beat an Omega timepiece. Such a classic clean design. I love Tag Heuer for that reason too.