Earlier this month, as a guest of Omega, we attended the FIBT Bob & Skeleton World Cup, which Omega sponsors and provides the official timekeeping for. The FIBT World Championships (FIBT – Fédération Internationale de Bobsleigh et de Tobogganing) which includes bobsleigh and skeleton racing events, has taken place on an annual basis in non-Winter Olympic years since 1931.
With the upcoming 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics just around the corner, this is a very important year for FIBT, as it is the precursor to the winter games. And so naturally, many of the same athletes who will compete in the Olympics, were competing in New York — including American bobsledder Steven Holcumb who piloted the 4-man bobsled that won a Gold medal in the 2010 Vancouver Olympics (the first for the US in the event since 1948). He won gold in Lake Placid too.
Omega is the official timekeeper of the FIBT World Cup as well as the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games. They facilitate all the timekeeping through a company called Swiss Timing, which is a subsidiary of the Swatch Group. An infrared timing system (with 1/100th of a second accuracy) was used for official timekeeping of the FIBT races.
However, in addition to the infrared timing technology — unofficially — a new more advanced radio-based timing system was being tested concurrently. That radio-based system, for which you can see two red transmitters on the front of the sled (pictured above), will make its debut during the Sochi Olympic games.