Splitting seconds at the Games

Every Olympics, a few races boil down to scream-at-the-TV finishes that are so close, viewers can’t tell who won. The timekeepers live for those moments. "If everything is clear, nobody is talking about timekeeping. We love to find close races," said Peter Hurzeler, a technical guru who will be working his 16th Olympics this summer for the Games' official timing company, Omega. While all venues will use sophisticated timing and scoring systems, those at the track and the pool are particularly elaborate. Here are two of the setups that will allow Hurzeler and roughly 1,200 technicians and volunteers to tell us, without a doubt, who wins.

How the time keepers figure out who wins at the Olympics.
Omega; “The Complete Book of the Olympics,” by David Wallechinsky and Jaime Loucky; Seiko; Tag Heuer; IOC; London 2012; USA Track & Field; FINA; IAAF. Bonnie Berkowitz and Alberto Cuadra / The Washington Post. Published on July 16, 2012, 7:26 p.m.
Read what others are saying