Vancouver countdown underway

Sport Business News

As the giant OMEGA Countdown Clock in Vancouver continues its steady march towards the 2010 Winter Games Opening Ceremony on 12 February, OMEGA's professionals are actively involved in preparations for the competition where, for the 24th time, the Swiss specialists will serve as Official Timekeepers at the Olympic Games. On 12 March 2010, OMEGA will play the same role at the Paralympic Games.

At OMEGA's first timekeeping assignment for the Winter Olympic Games in Garmisch–Partenkirchen, Germany in 1936, a lone OMEGA technician brought 27 stopwatches which were used to time each event at the Games. Seventy years later in Turin, OMEGA deployed 208 professionals–127 timekeepers and 81 data handlers–armed with 220 tonnes of equipment. Those numbers will be exceeded at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games as OMEGA mobilises the largest timekeeping contingent in the history of winter sport. OMEGA began its Olympic timekeeping tradition at the Los Angeles 1932 Olympic Games. In addition to its prominent Olympic role, OMEGA has been behind many of the most important technological developments in all of sports timekeeping. The Games in Vancouver will take place over a 17–day period beginning on 12 February. More than 5, 500 Olympic Games athletes and officials from more than 80 countries will make it the largest Winter Olympic Games ever. The Paralympic Games, for which OMEGA is also Official Timekeeper, start on 12 March and will continue for 10 days. The Games' organisers anticipate that the Paralympic Games will attract 1, 350 athletes and officials from more than forty countries. Sustainability a key themeAs the cities of Vancouver and Whistler prepare for the Games, there is a lot of attention being paid to the philosophy of economic and environmental sustainability promoted by VANOC, the Vancouver Organising Committee of the Olympic Games. The Committee is doing its best to see that any changes made to the local landscape will integrate smoothly into the community once the Games are over. While Beijing had such spectacular venues as the National 'Bird's Nest' Stadium and the 'Water Cube', VANOC is relying on providing facelifts to existing structures and to creating facilities which will serve the people of Vancouver and British Columbia long after the spectators and press have gone home. It can be argued that the natural splendour of British Columbia and the breathtaking beauty of Vancouver and Whistler would not be enhanced with the addition of large new purpose–built structures. Accordingly, existing buildings are being adapted to the needs of the Winter Olympic Games and new ones have only been considered when it was clear that they would improve the quality of life for local residents following the Games. The Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games will attract an estimated three billion television viewers worldwide. More than 10, 000 members of the press are planning to attend and it is projected that the vancouver2010. com website will be visited 75m times. Several new events considered–only one sanctionedAt the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games, the only new officially sanctioned event will be Skicross. Six other events were up for inclusion in the Games but were ultimately rejected by the IOC when members met in 2006 to vote on the sports being considered. Those which didn't make the cut were the biathlon mixed relay, mixed doubles curling, team alpine skiing, team bobsled and skeleton, team luge, and women's ski jumping. The last of these has been the most controversial and some supporters of women's ski jumping have protested to exclusion suggesting that it was based on gender discrimination. The IOC has justified the decision citing the low number of athletes and countries currently participating in the sport; the IOC's Executive Board noted that women's ski jumping has yet to be fully established internationally. No one knows yet which of the 80 or so nations participating in the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games will top the medals table when the competitions are over but one thing is certain: each medallist in every event at the Games will have had his or her results measured and displayed by OMEGA, the world's most successful sports timekeeper.

Additional information