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1932 1984
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1936
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1936
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1948
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1948 2012
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1952
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1956
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1956
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1980
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1992
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1996
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2008
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2010
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2014
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2016

Beijing 2008

The Beijing 2008 Olympic Games – the first ever held in China – will long be remembered for the striking architectural wonder of its venues. The centrepiece was the National Stadium, which was nicknamed “The Bird’s Nest” because of its nest-like skeletal structure.

TECHNOLOGY

GPS was used for the first time in rowing

Global positioning system (GPS) technology was used to monitor and display the relative positions of the competitors in rowing as well as in canoeing and sailing events. A GPS transmitter mounted on the boats sent precise GPS coordinates to OMEGA Timing professionals on shore. This information was used in several applications: TV graphics (live and virtual animation), live race tracking on PDAs and the Internet and for automatic intermediate timing.

The system had been successfully tested throughout 2007 at the Rowing World Cups in Linz, Austria, Amsterdam, and Lucerne as well as at the Olympic test event in Beijing, the Rowing World Championships in Munich and the European Rowing Championships in Poznan, Poland.

TECHNOLOGY

Scoreboards in Chinese

The fact that the Olympics took place in Beijing had some implications for the design of the scoreboards used there. The scores, results and announcements were displayed not only in English but in Chinese. The complexity of the Chinese pictographic characters meant that the scoreboards had to display with far greater resolution than had been necessary in the past. OMEGA Timing’s scoreboards made it possible for the local spectators to be fully informed in their own language of the results of every event.

ANECDOTE

Michael Phelps, 100-metre butterfly

At the end of the 100-metre butterfly event every eye in the Water Cube (including those of the swimmers) turned to the scoreboard. The end was so tightly contested that it was impossible to tell visually who had won. OMEGA’s electronic timing system said that Michael Phelps of the United States had defeated Milorad Cavic swimming for Serbia by the narrowest possible margin – a hundredth of a second. Cavic’s coach disputed the result but when he was shown the OMEGA high-speed video images, he immediately withdrew his protest. The video confirmed exactly the same result as the primary system had: Phelps finished in 50.58 seconds and Cavic’s time was 50.59 seconds. It was Phelps’ seventh gold medal of the Games and he would go on to win a record 8th a day later.


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