Friday, November 02, 2012

Peter Hurzeler, Head of Omega Timing: "...Swimming is the only sport where the athlete can stop his time."

"...Swimming is the only sport where the athlete can stop his time." -- Peter Hurzeler, Head of Omega Timing stating this this at the 2nd FINA World Aquatics Convention held in Moscow.

From the FINA Website:

"...Peter Hurzeler, Head of Omega Timing and speaker at the Convention: "This event is a good benefit for all the federations, it's a fantastic and important event to know what's going on in the sport. In my talk, I explained that swimming is the only sport where the athlete can stop his time."

The audience was surprised, realising it is a noteworthy difference. Hurzeler added: "We have a fantastic relation with the sport of swimming because for me it is one of the best organised international federations. Together with FINA, we did a lot of new things; if you're looking at swimming competitions on TV, everybody understands, it's straightforward." ..." 
What a profound observation - an observation that is 100% accurate and one could argue that it is most elevated form of fairness out of any other timed sport. It's accurate because you may touch the touchpad first but it is your responsibility to stop the clock. Sublime in that it removes any possible excuse of bias by an official. It's the official that starts the race, but the swimmer must stop his race and log his own time.

Makes me proud that I wear an Omega.


Anonymous said...

I don't get it. Runners stop their time by getting their torso across the electric eye first. Same for cycling and triathlon.

Tony Austin said...

I am now quoting from an "Athletic Business" article: "...Whereas swimming is the only sport in which participants literally "hit the wall" upon completing a race, dry-land timing must account for individuals as they cross a line. For many events, state-of-the-art timing takes the form of radio frequency identification technology (RFID)."

In the sports you mentioned the runner or the triathlete just exists in space as they cross a finish line and their time and their location when the line is crossed is radioed in but in swimming part of the event is the process of stopping an actual clock with your body rather than having it done for you automatically.

In the photo above the post it's my belief that the "atoms" on Cavic's finger tip may have touched the wall first but Michael Phelps thrust into the wall with his final stroke definitely stopped the clock first.