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Rebecca Romero cycles for Britain in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Photograph Tim De Waele/TDW Ever since the first ancient Greek chipped away at a lump of stone to give it the smooth, aerodynamic properties of a discus, sportsmen and engineers have been looking at ways to enhance performance – while some of those denied medals have been crying foul.
Track In sprint races like the 100-meter dash, which can last as few as 10 seconds, timing is of the essence. Therefore, every aspect of timekeeping is electronic, even the starting gun. Once the runners are crouched with both feet on the pads on their starting blocks, a timing official pulls the gun's trigger , sending an electrical current through the attached copper wire cable to the starting blocks and a separate timing console .
No timekeeper in the world has a longer or closer relationship with the Olympic Movement than OMEGA. The brand works regularly with the governing federation of each sport to ensure the equipment used to measure the athletes’ performances are adapted to meet the needs of the competition. This means new and improved timekeeping and data handling technology is introduced each year. Among OMEGA’s early innovations in the field was the world's first independent, portable and water-resistant photoelectric cell, which made its Olympic debut at the London 1948 Games. This was followed by the Racend OMEGA Timer, a device that combined a Race Finish Recording photofinish camera with a timer.
OMEGA has always been driven by its pioneering spirit: six lunar landings; the first divers’ watch; the world’s only certified marine chronometer wristwatch. No watch company in the world holds more records for accuracy. OMEGA is also a world leader in sports timekeeping.
The Isthmian games were held near Corinth, in a rural sanctuary on the Isthmos, that is the small neck of land that connects the Peloponnesian peninsula with Central Greece. They were organized by the city Corinth, until 146 BC, when Corinth was completely destroyed by the Romans. For some time the games moved to the city Sicyon. In 40 BC Corinth got hold of the organization again and about AD 40 the games moved back to the Isthmos.
The Nemean games were founded in 573 BC, as the last of the four top games. They took place at Nemea, a sanctuary dedicated to Zeus , in whose honour the games were held. According to the foundation myth, the games started as funeral games for prince Opheltes, also called Archemoros, who died at Nemea as a baby. Originally the games were organized by Kleonai, a small town north of the sanctuary.
The Olympic Games of AD165 ended in a horribly spectacular fashion. Just a couple of miles from the main stadium, watched by a large crowd, an old man called Peregrinus Proteus – an ex-Christian convert, turned loud-mouthed pagan philosopher and religious guru – jumped on to a blazing pyre to his death. He had been threatening to do this ever since the previous Olympics, four years earlier. The self-immolation was modelled on the mythical death of Heracles (one of the legendary founders of the Games) and was meant as a gesture of protest at the corrupt wealth of the human world, as well as a lesson to the guru's followers in how to endure suffering. Despite his brave words, as the days of the Olympic festival went by, Peregrinus kept putting off the final moment. It was not until the Games had officially finished, that he actually built the pyre and took the plunge.
Athletes in the running games had to start simultaneously otherwise they were disqualified and to some reports even beaten. How did the Greeks start their races? Originally, they probably used an auditory signal, either an official saying "Go" or perhaps a trumpet blast. Runners could anticipate the signal and start too soon, hence the invention of a starting gate, or hysplex.
In these videos there is a lot of technology being used. Firstly, the starting blocks are linked to the electric gun and the laptop so that they know when there is a false start and the timings of the sprinter. The laptop will show the reaction times of each athlete this will tell the starter if there has been a false start. A second electric gun is then fired to signal the false start. Each starting block has a microphone attached so that each athlete will hear the gun at thge same time.
She had become the fastest woman in the world, and the third-fastest in history. “She was lit up,” said John Smith, her coach and sprint guru. “Her whole aura just changed. I saw something transformed . . . It was remarkable.”