News detail

14 July 2011

OMEGA Countdown Clock ticks down the seconds to the start of the Winter Youth Olympic Games


Innsbruck to welcome world's best winter athletes for third time

Innsbruck, Austria is the only place to have hosted the Olympic Winter Games twice, in 1964 and 1976. Now the popular city in the heart of the Austrian Alps will welcome the world's best winter athletes for the third time. When the first-ever Winter Youth Olympic Games begin in January, Innsbruck will establish conclusively that it is one of the best places on Earth for winter sport.


In the heart of Innsbruck

On July 14th, OMEGA, the Official Timekeeper of the Winter Youth Olympic Games, unveiled the Countdown Clock that will tick away the days, hours, minutes and seconds to the beginning of the opening ceremony on January 13th, 2012. The clock is located in the heart of Innsbruck at the intersection of Maria Theresien Strasse and Burggraben, one of the most frequented places in the city and located near its many tourist attractions.


On hand for the unveiling were OMEGA Timing General Manager Christophe Berthaud, Peter Mennel, Secretary General of the Austrian Olympic Committée, Tyrol’s Deputy Governor Hannes Gschwentner  and the Mayor of Innsbruck Christine Oppitz-Plörer.


Six months and counting

The unveiling event took place a half year before the start of the Innsbruck 2012 Winter Youth Olympic Games. The local organisers are proud that Innsbruck has been selected to host the inaugural Winter Youth Olympic Games and particularly excited that no other city has ever staged three Olympic-level Winter Games.


OMEGA's third visit to Innsbruck

When the Olympic Winter Games were staged in Innsbruck in 1964 and 1976, OMEGA served as Official Timekeeper. The brand's president, Stephen Urquhart, said, "Both editions of the Winter Games staged in Innsbruck were memorable for some new timekeeping equipment and outstanding performances. We were warmly received by our Austrian hosts and are looking forward to returning for the very first Winter Youth Olympic Games."


Innsbruck 2012 CEO Peter Bayer explained the importance of the OMEGA Countdown Clock saying, “Standing four meters high and over two meters wide, the spectacular Countdown Clock in the heart of Innsbruck is a fantastic way of showing that the first Winter Youth Olympic Games are getting ever closer! The clock also underlines the important role timekeeping will play during the Games and makes every single moment even more tangible for athletes, officials and fans alike. We are proud to have Omega as a strong, reliable and professional partner. Together we will write sporting history.”  


OMEGA: synonymous with Olympic Games timekeeping

OMEGA first served as Official Olympic Timekeeper in Los Angeles in 1932. At that edition of the Games, a lone watchmaker travelled from Switzerland with thirty chronograph stopwatches which were used to time every discipline. Seventy-six years later, at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, the commitment had increased to 450 timekeeping and data handling professionals supported by more than a thousand trained local volunteers and some 420 tons of equipment! At the London 2012 Olympic Games, OMEGA will assume its timekeeping duties for the 25th time.


More than 200 hours of live coverage of the Innsbruck 1964 Olympic Winter Games were broadcast internationally and viewers were able, for the first time, to see a running clock, individual times and competitors' numbers superimposed on their TV screens. Television coverage of the Olympic Games had come of age.


OMEGA and the International Olympic Committee have extended their agreement through the 2020 Olympic Games. While no one ever knows which nations' athletes will be standing on the medal podiums, one thing is certain: their winning performances will have been timed and recorded by OMEGA, the timekeeper synonymous with Olympic Games excellence.