LA 1932:

30 STOPWATCHES
17 WORLD RECORDS

LONDON 1948:

THE "MAGIC EYE"
REVOLUTIONISES
TIMEKEEPING

MONTREAL 1976:

NADIA COMANECI
"GYMNAST OF THE CENTURY"

BEJING 2008:

PHELPS WINS RECORD
8 GOLD MEDALS

HIGHLIGHTS OF OLYMPIC TIMEKEEPING

No timekeeper in the world has a longer or closer relationship with the Olympic Movement than OMEGA. The brand works regularly with the governing federation of each sport to ensure the equipment used to measure the athletes’ performances are adapted to meet the needs of the competition. This means new and improved timekeeping and data handling technology is introduced each year.

Among OMEGA’s early innovations in the field was the world's first independent, portable and water-resistant photoelectric cell, which made its Olympic debut at the London 1948 Games. This was followed by the Racend OMEGA Timer, a device that combined a Race Finish Recording photofinish camera with a timer. At the Helsinki 1952 Olympic Games, OMEGA became the first company to use electronic timing in sport with the OMEGA Time Recorder (OTR).

In 1961, OMEGA invented the Omegascope, which allowed the time of each competitor to be displayed on a TV screen. A year later, OMEGA introduced its "contact pads" for swimming competitions. This simple new technology reacted only to the touch of the swimmers and was not affected by water splashes.

During the Mexico City Games in 1968, the brand’s electronic timekeeping was officially used for the first time to capture Jim Hines’ 100-metre winning time of 9.95 seconds, highlighting just one of the golden moments that help make OMEGA define sports timekeeping.

At the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, the high-speed video cameras used in the swimming events confirmed the perfect performance of the electronic timing system in the disputed men’s 100-metre butterfly. In Vancouver, an electronic starting gun was introduced to replace the familiar start pistol that had been part of timekeeping for decades.

In the London 2012 Olympic Games, the new Quantum Timer offered higher resolution and precision than its predecessor while integrating main and backup units into a single device. The Open Water Gate made swimming events more accessible to media and spectators by using transponder technology and high-definition cameras to provide additional information. OMEGA introduced the first athletics starting block in London in 1948 and it was fitting for the latest generation to be introduced at the 2012 Games. With the new starting blocks, the runners' reaction times are measured entirely by the measurement of force against the back block and not by movement.

The on-going development of new timekeeping and data handling technologies have been an important part of OMEGA’s eighty-year partnership with the International Olympic Committee and the world’s finest athletes and is a defining part of the commitment to measuring, displaying and distributing the great performances at each edition of the Olympic Games.

See our Full Olympic Timeline


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