Hundreds cheered as the impressive OMEGA Countdown Clock in Xinjiekou Square was unveiled today marking exactly one year to go until the Opening Ceremony of the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games.
The special countdown event, which was organised by the Nanjing Youth Olympic Games Organising Committee (NYOCOG) in collaboration with OMEGA, began at 7.30 p.m. on August 15. Master of ceremonies and prominent broadcast journalist, HeJian, introduced OMEGA President Stephen Urquhart, IOC member and Marketing Commission Chairman Gerhard Heiberg and the City of Nanjing’s Deputy Mayor, Liu Yi'an, who serves as Executive Deputy Secretary of NYOCOG.
NANJINGLELE, the official mascot of the Youth Olympic Games, took to the stage and received a warm welcome from the spectators.
Jacques Rogge, the President of the International Olympic Committee, was not able to attend the event but addressed the audience in a recorded message, saying, “In exactly one year, Nanjing will welcome the world’s best young athletes for the second edition of the summer Youth Olympic Games. Thanks to the tremendous efforts of the talented Organising Committee team, Nanjing will certainly host a wonderful and memorable YOG.”
He added: “These Games will offer the chance to witness something very special – the Olympic champions of the future. They will inspire young people around the world to become more active in sport and encourage them to embrace, embody and live by the Olympic values of excellence, friendship and respect.”
The spectators were also treated to a dazzling, hip-hop choreographed performance featuring local youth using brightly-coloured illuminated umbrellas.Their appearance was followed by a film made up of historic Olympic footage and scenery from Nanjing along with images highlighting OMEGA’s long-standing timekeeping role.
The main attraction featured a breathtaking routine executed by silk aerialists and water silk dancers. They concluded their show by dramatically unveiling the Countdown Clock to tumultuous applause and cheers.
Just before 8pm, HeJian led the enthusiastic spectators as they counted down the final ten seconds to the one year milestone. They reached “zero” exactly as the number of days remaining changed from 366 to 365.
OMEGA president Stephen Urquhart said that his brand is looking forward to its timekeeping role in Nanjing. “All of us were so impressed by the talent on display in Singapore at the inaugural Youth Olympic Games,” he said. “The fact that some of the athletes there have already gone on to win Olympic medals speaks volumes about their ability. In Nanjing, the spectators will have the chance to see that the future of international sport is very promising indeed.”
In addition to the six-metre high Countdown Clock in Xinjiekou Square, OMEGA has installed a four-metre version at the entrance to the NYOGOC office.
At the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games, which will run from August 16 to August 28, OMEGA will be responsible for the timing the 28 different sports at each competition venue. Around 80 tonnes of state-of-the-art timekeeping equipment, including 115 public and sport-specific scoreboards, 100km of cables and optical fibre and 25 TV graphic generators will be used at the Youth Olympic Games.
OMEGA first served as Official Olympic Timekeeper at the Los Angeles 1932 Olympic Games and has also provided its timekeeping and data handling services to the Youth Olympic Games since their inception in Singapore in 2010.
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