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Technology Inspired by the Winter Olympics

Winter OlympicsIt is certainly hard to believe that four years has already gone by, but it has. This month marks the beginning of the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. While the athletes are focused on winning the gold and bringing glory back to their country, there are countless people behind the scenes ensuring that the games are fair and a success.

This month we will take a look at some of the technology that the Olympics has inspired over the years.

 

All-Weather Torch

One of the most notable symbols of the Olympic Games is the Olympic torch. In 1988, for the Calgary games, a special torch was developed that could withstand severe weather. The torch was especially lightweight and was powered by special fuel in order to ensure that the torch would remain lit during inclement weather for its entire 88-day trip.

Zamboni

While not new at the time, the Zamboni was new to the Olympics when it was introduced at Squaw Valley, California in 1960. Olympic skater Sonja Henie bought one to travel with her in the early 50's not long after it made its Olympic debut and is still the standard for smoothing the ice in an ice rink.

Timing Technology

The 1948 Olympic Games in Austria were notable because it was the first time that a photoelectric eye was used to accurately measure timing in certain events, such as skiing. This allowed time measurement that was simply too precise for the naked eye and until 1980 this was the standard. In the 1980 Lake Placid games the timing was enhanced to post a skier’s time as soon as he crossed the finish line. In 1992, a photo-finish system was introduced that could measure time down to the thousandth of a second.

Making Snow

Sometimes it just does not snow during winter and this is a problem when it comes to the Winter Olympics. The 1980 Olympic Games were the first to utilize artificial snow. Artificial snow was also used in the most recent winter games in Vancouver. To prepare for these games, state-of-the-art equipment was used to turn 95.3 million liters of water into snow.

If you want to know more, visit http://www.history.com/topics/winter-olympics-technology for more awesome Olympic technology.


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