Saturday, July 31

Tokyo 2020: the technology that we will see in these Olympic Games | Digital Trends Spanish

After a year of delay, and with the addition of new sports, it seems that the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games will finally begin on July 23. Skateboarding, surfing, sport climbing, baseball and karate will be the novelty when they are confirmed for the first time.

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Along with the evolution in the number of officially accepted sports, Olympic records and the technology used to measure them appropriately go hand in hand, which has gone from simple observation by a judge to the latest in measuring instruments. .

There are sports for which measuring time or distance is not a problem, such as soccer, basketball, or judo. On the other hand, there are others in which a thousandth of a second can become a factor of controversy. To show the final of the 100 meter butterfly swim in Beijing 2008 between Michael Phelps and Milorad Cavic.

Let’s take for example the Olympic sport par excellence, athletics, and the queen test, the 100 meter dash. The current record is the Jamaican Usain Bolt with 9.58 seconds, which he achieved in the world championship in Berlin in 2009, and the previous one was also his property, achieved in Beijing in 2008 with 9.69 seconds.

Although the 100-meter dash was part of the first Olympic Games of the modern era, which began in 1896, it was not until Stockholm 1920 that the IAAF officially recorded Donald Lippincott’s 10.6 seconds as the first world record.

It took 48 years for the best time in this test to drop below the 10-second barrier. It was Americans Jim Hines, Ronnie Ray Smith and Charles Greene who set the world record in 9.9 seconds in 1968.

Making a mistake by timing with a hand stopwatch for these types of tests was more than feasible. Taking this into account, the IAAF in 1977 made the decision to put aside manual timing, although since 1932 it made use, simultaneously, of electronic technology.

The protagonist in common from then until today is OMEGA. This watch manufacturer was in charge of initiating the development of technology for all sports, and not just for the Olympics. Here we present you the historical moments and how the measurement methods have changed.

The evolution in timing technology

1932: collaboration with OMEGA begins

The use of technology in the Olympics officially began in Los Angeles in 1932. The winner was the American Thomas Edward, who history will remember for being the first to be declared the winner by the Chamber of photo finish and automatic stopwatches. The technology race began at the Olympics.

First Omega chronographs used in 1932

1948: the photoelectric cell is used for the first time

The St. Moritz Winter Olympics in Switzerland had several peculiar things. It was the first time that an Olympic venue had been repeated and for the first time OMEGA used a photoelectric cell, which it would later use at the 1948 London Olympics. The instrument recorded the exact moment the line was crossed. It was the beginning of the supremacy of the machine over man in terms of precision and the farewell to errors in the measurement of times and distances.

Photoelectric cell used in 1948

1964: electronics doing its thing

In addition to doing very well, the OmegaScope was quite a milestone. For the first time you could see the times in real time on televisions and not just imagine them or, in the best of cases, taking the time at home. It was first used at the Winter Olympics in Innsbruck, Austria. It can be said that they were the first 100 percent electronic games.

OMEGA OmegaScope

1968: swimmer stops the clock

Mexico City, 1968. On this occasion, OMEGA would give something to talk about in swimming. And he did it in the best way: technology would come out ahead with the new touchpads pool, which are still valid today. Although they are currently supported by underwater and aerial cameras for very closed arrivals, their introduction allowed it to be the swimmer himself who marked his time by touching with his hand and stopping the timer.

OMEGA touchpads for swimming pools

1992: Instant Scan-O-Vision

While technology had excelled in some sports such as the 100-meter dash and swimming, now it was the turn of speed skating. Another OMEGA measuring equipment made its debut: the system was powerful enough to digitally measure times with differences of up to one hundredth of a second.

OMEGA Scan-O-Vsion

2010: a futuristic pistol

The future came to the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. On this occasion, it was the premiere of a device called Electronic Start System. A futuristic-looking red “gun” that had a visual cue, other than sound. It was the goodbye of the typical salute pistol to start the starts of any joust where necessary.

OMEGA Electronic Start System

2012: new era of timekeeping

With an improved resolution of 1 μs (one millionth of a second), Quantum Timer announced a new generation of OMEGA Timing products. The maximum variation is only one second every ten million seconds.

OMEGA Timing System

“A single Swiss master watchmaker arrived in Los Angeles in 1932, with 30 ratrapante chronographs. Today, a team of timekeeping professionals is supported by up to 450 tons of material, but the goal remains the same: to provide a perfect measurement to the best competitors in the world ”.

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