Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg, the co-founders of the Solar Impulse project with its ambitious goal of circumnavigating the globe in an airplane powered only by the sun, were welcomed to the OMEGA Pavilion on the Olympic Green in Beijing on Sunday, 10 August, 2008
OMEGA provides technical and capital support to Solar Impulse, sharing in the visionary founders’ conviction that the venture will contribute substantially to the scientific and ecological development of alternative means of sustainable energy for the future.
Piccard and Borschberg joined OMEGA president Stephen Urquhart on stage at the Pavilion which is located only a short distance from the National (“Bird’s Nest”) Stadium and the three addressed the public and members of the press in a ceremony moderated by Lynn Ding, who facilitated the question and answer session in English and Chinese.
When Urquhart was asked why OMEGA chose to include Solar Impulse in the Pavilion’s exhibition hall, he gestured around the room, saying, “This shows that we’re involved in many fields – space exploration, precision timing, and so on – and thousands of people pass through here every day. It’s an ideal platform to introduce Solar Impulse to the people attending the Olympic Games.”
Asked about the aim of Solar Impulse, Bertrand Piccard said, “It’s a way to show that renewable energies can be exciting. We’d like to motivate people by saying, ‘What we are doing in the air, you can do on the ground with your choices of the energy sources you use.’”
André Borschberg explained that the technological expertise contributed by OMEGA will help optimize the system and make it possible to keep the Solar Impulse airplane flying through the night.
Bertrand Piccard reminded the audience that one of the first OMEGA ambassadors was the late yachtsman and explorer Sir Peter Blake who lost his life on an ecological expedition in 2002. “OMEGA,” said Piccard “has a long history of support for people whose work benefits the environment so we are perfectly suited to each other.” Borschberg added, “When we got to know each other it didn’t take long to decide to work together.”
Following their presentation from the stage, Stephen Urquhart led his two brand ambassadors on a tour of the Pavilion, pointing out some of the key exhibits including a large scale-model of the Solar Impulse Airplane and a virtual display of the plane’s controls. André Borschberg laughed and said, “This looks familiar!”
The OMEGA Pavilion’s display area also features exhibits highlighting OMEGA’s long history of sports timing and its close relationship to the conquest of space as well some of the brand’s classic timepieces. It will be open to the public every day from 10 a.m. throughout the Olympic Games.
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