Watch Freeks banner
1 - 6 of 6 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
24,243 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
imported post

Omega History of Olympic Timekeeping

http://www.omegawatches.com/index.php?id=1071

How Olympic Timekeeping works


http://entertainment.howstuffworks.com/olympic-timing3.htm

Although most times are only published to the 100th of a second, Olympic timing standards require that timekeeping be accurate to the millisecond. With such a small margin of error, timekeepers must plan for the worst. Here is how timekeeping officials keep the scores accurate:

  • Photo courtesy USALuge.org
    "Smart" systems - In case a cable is cut or a piece of equipment stops working, each timekeeping system has up to four back-up systems. These systems kick in automatically when a piece of equipment fails so that no scores are lost (there are no "do-overs" in an Olympic event). Some redundant systems back up the data by printing it out on a time-synchronized printer, while others ensure that times can still get to the audience and the media via scoreboards and the Internet. In addition, the laser and infrared beams at starting and finishing lines are not steady; instead, they quickly flash on and off so as not to be tricked by changes in background light or falling snow. A signal is sent to the clock only after the beam is blocked for several pulses in a row.
  • False-start fail-safes - Because many athletes "jump the gun," timekeepers must also be referees of a sort to preserve the accuracy of competitors' scores. Scientists have measured that an average human takes one tenth of a second to react to a stimulus, such as the starting gun; in the Olympics, there is a system that stops the clock if an athlete starts sooner than a tenth of a second after the signal is given, because this means he began to "react" before the gun was fired.
    To measure this, the starting blocks used in both track and swimming events have electronic pressure plates where the athlete's feet rest. At the first sign of pressure (when the competitor pushes off), the starting block sends a signal to the timing console. If the reaction time is determined to be less than one tenth of a second, the clock is stopped and an alarm is sent to the timing official's headphones to restart the race. Often, the competitor who started prematurely is disqualified. In aquatic relay events, reaction time is analyzed not only at the start of the race but also as each swimmer "tags" his or her teammate. If the tagged swimmer leaves the starting block less than one tenth of a second after the first swimmer touches the contact plate in the water, the second swimmer is disqualified for a false start. In both cases, high-speed video cameras also record the action on a horizontal time scale in case of any disputes.
  • Disputes and development - Because the official Olympic timekeeper provides heavily redundant systems and multiple timing devices with both numerical and visual data, timing disputes are usually solved quickly by analysis. However, when a valid complaint is made, this almost always leads to research and advancement of the existing timing technology. For instance, after Silke Kraushaar's gold-medal luge win in 1998, it was discovered that the photoelectric sensors had a margin of error of exactly two milliseconds -- the span of time Kraushaar won by. In response to concerns about the system's accuracy, then-U.S. Olympic Committee Principal Engineer Tom Westenburg developed the high-modulation, triply-redundant system in current use, which is accurate to less than half a millisecond.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
25,154 Posts
imported post

Have to get it right with gold metals and entire countries bragging rights on the line!!

A good read. Thanks for posting that info.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
24,243 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
imported post

TVDinner wrote:
Have to get it right with gold metals and entire countries bragging rights on the line!!

A good read. Thanks for posting that info.
[flash=425,344]http://www.youtube.com/v/bsC1m4Fb9Hs&hl=en&fs=1[/flash]
 
1 - 6 of 6 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top