Well, the blaze of glory is nearing its end. But before Rio 2016 crosses the finish line, we wanted to show you something really cool from behind the scenes of the official timekeepers. The ‘duck swimming on the lake’ metaphor applies perfectly to timing at a modern Olympics. To the naked eye, the duck – and the running race, or golf tournament, or swimming relay – moves smoothly, but beneath the surface, in the Omega timing room, there is activity, technology and, it turns out, some pretty eye-popping animations going on.
Interviews with the CEO of Swiss Timing, Alain Zobrist and Omega chief executive Raynald Aeschlimann gave us a glimpse into the complexity that goes on behind the scenes to make simple and straightforward timing outcomes possible. And, while this image looks like a computer game, we can assure you it’s not child play. I asked a seemingly innocent question: “What happens when something goes wrong and equipment fails?” Zobrist was unequivocal: “There are no mistakes. We can hardly ask the athletes to run the race again.”