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London 2012

At the London 2012 Olympic Games, OMEGA remained mindful of 1948, the last time London was the host city – that year marked the return of the Olympic Games following a twelve-year gap. And just as in the previous London Games, medal-winning results were timed and recorded by OMEGA with revolutionary and precise equipment.

TECHNOLOGY

New swimming timekeeping technology at the London 2012 Olympic Games

At every Olympic Games, OMEGA’s timekeeping and data handling professionals arrive equipped with tons of equipment – a veritable arsenal of the world’s latest and best sports timing and judging technology. In London, OMEGA's presence at the Games was impressive: 450 on-site professionals supported by ca. 800 trained volunteers, 420 tons of equipment including 70 public scoreboards as well as 320 sport-specific scoreboards, 180 km of cables and optical fibre and state-of-the-art timekeeping and data-handling technology developed by OMEGA and adapted to the requirements of each sport.

Every Olympic Games features some technological premieres. Here’s a preview of the swimming timekeeping equipment which debuted at the Olympic Games in London.

TECHNOLOGY

Open Water Gate

Among the most challenging yet underappreciated of the Olympic disciplines are the men's and women's swimming marathon.

OMEGA's Open Water Gate is set up not only at the beginning and the end of the race but also in intermediate positions so, at the London 2012 Olympic Games, new timing information was available. Previously, times were only reported at the beginning and the end of the marathon.

The gate positioned at the finish has touchpads with vertical transponder antennas while the ones in the intermediate positions have horizontal transponder antennas that pick up the signals “on the fly” from the transponders the swimmers wear on their wrists. At the London Games, there were high-definition cameras mounted on poles at the finish line that served as a reliable backup system and which were also used when athletes finished too close together and could not be ranked by the transponder system alone.

TECHNOLOGY

Quantum Timer 

With an enhanced resolution of 1 µs (one millionth of a second) the Quantum Timer and the Quantum Aquatics Timer mark the beginning of a new generation of OMEGA Timing products. The resolution is 100 times greater than with previous devices. The Quantum also delivers precision of 0.1 parts per million (ppm). This means that there is a maximum variation of only one second out of ten million seconds or a thousandth of a second out of every thousand seconds. The previous devices had precision of 0.5 ppm so in this respect, the new ones are five times as accurate. The precision is achieved through the use of a component created by Micro Crystal, a company of the Swatch Group, which is embedded in the timer.

The OMEGA Timing design team drew on the unrivalled depth of knowledge in timekeeping across the world of sports to produce what will be the heart of many systems.

Innovative features include a complete backup built into the main unit, and with 16 independent clocks, 128 inputs and 32 outputs it will be a challenge to find a sport that Quantum cannot time.

The 16 independent clocks mean that 16 separate running times can be physically implemented in the hardware and the information for each can be simultaneously communicated to scoreboards or shown on television screens.

The same technology that allows the Quantum Timer to redefine Cycling Track timekeeping is also used in the Quantum Aquatics Timer and brings the same great timekeeping performance to water sports.


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