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Omega Watches and the 2010 Olympics
As if we needed another reason to admire Omega watches for their technological excellence. Being the official timekeeper of the Olympic Games means a lot more than having your logo appear at the bottom of the TV screen every thirty seconds. Omega has put a lot of money and technological innovation into their task of keeping time at the Olympics, and the results are nothing short of downright impressive. And when some races are decided by 1-100th of a second, they'd better be impressive, right? Let me tell you that Omega's new technology is a far cry from the handheld stopwatches they developed in 1932 when they first signed on as Olympic timekeepers. The Science of Time: Omega Watches Conquer the Slopes Let's put this into perspective, shall we? 1-100th of a second is 10 times faster than a blink of the eye. Sound fast? For Omega, it's a piece of cake. Let's take alpine skiing for example. The first stage for an alpine ski race is to pass through the "Snowgate," a slick black obelisk of technological progress, complete with robotic arm—that's more than your average starting gate: New technology ensures that the starting pulse is generated when the 'wand' (or 'bar') is at precisely the same angle for every competitor. The control box for the device includes both a main and a backup system. The systems use different technologies – one is purely mechanical; the other is electro-mechanical. The skiers have a ten-second starting window and can begin up to five seconds before or five seconds after the official start time. If they are within this time frame, the timing system will be activated automatically when they burst through the gate; otherwise, they are disqualified." If you think that sounds impressive, just wait until you hear what comes next. All along the track—in addition to the dozens of professional timekeepers that keep track of the skiers' progress—are sensors that automatically tell computers the location of the skiers at various points in the race, as well as their speed, with infinitesimal accuracy. This data is instantaneously beamed to commentators who then relay the details to TV viewers. When they finally reach the end of the course, the results are immediately displayed on screens and sent to commentators. Not too shabby. Omega and the Olympics: A History of Excellence Since 1934, Omega has kept time for the Olympics 24 times. It's incredible to see where technology has come since those fateful games in Los Angeles, when simple handheld chronometer Omega watches kept time as accurately as 1-10th of a second—not accounting for human error. Let's just say that there were more arguments back then about who won and who lost. It's no surprise that Omega's contract extends into 2020, and they could likely continue for even more subsequent games. So you can wear that replica Omega watch on your wrist with the knowledge that it's inspired by a history of excellence.
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