OMEGA Takes Center Stage in the Sports Arena
By Cristina D’Agostino29 novembre 2023
In New York on November 10th, the Swiss watch brand OMEGA unveiled an exhibition showcasing its heritage in the field of timekeeping. The event provided an opportunity to introduce some of its ambassadors, three American athletes, and a para-athlete, all of whom are highly decorated and already iconic figures.
As the sports world gears up for intense moments in 2024, especially with the upcoming Paris Olympic Games, many luxury brands are currently investing in global events and flagship competitions capable of attracting hundreds of millions of fans. According to a recent report* by the consulting firm PwC, this trend has been on the rise for several years. However, certain brands, like OMEGA, have embedded this trend in their history for a long time. OMEGA embarked on its sports adventure in 1932, becoming the official timekeeper of the Olympic Games. Since then, sports have become ingrained in the brand's DNA, evident in both the sporting events it times and the watch models it creates each year. The Diamond League, World Aquatics, Olympic and Paralympic Games, among other global events, are the occasions that punctuate and inspire the brand's innovations.
For OMEGA, supporting athletes and sports disciplines goes beyond mere branding on screens or athlete attire. It's a mission and responsibility that occupies an entire unit dedicated exclusively to timekeeping, known as Swiss Timing, led by Alain Zobrist. This structure can deploy tons of equipment, develop software, and provide expertise on technological advancements, including Artificial Intelligence. Beyond these fundamental aspects that enable the measurement and evolution of sports, there are also numerous human stories woven over the years with athletes.
The Planet OMEGA exhibition in New York at the Chelsea Factory traced OMEGA's history in sports and highlighted its decades-long involvement with Olympic and Paralympic athletes. It not only celebrated the world of sports but also explored other realms that are integral to the brand's identity—real adventures experienced in space, the depths of the ocean, and alongside the famous secret agent James Bond.
Several champions recently joined OMEGA's extensive family of sports ambassadors, gathering in New York to celebrate the brand's 90 years of association with the Olympic Games. It was an opportunity for the public to engage in a talk with them. On stage, Noah Lyles, the American prodigy in the 100m, 200m, and 4x100m; Nathan Chen, the American figure skater, three-time world champion, and 2022 Olympic champion; Allyson Felix, the most decorated American sprinter in athletics, and Oksana Masters, a multi-medaled American para-athlete with 17 Paralympic medals, shared their stories.
Noah Lyles is not only an exemplary athlete in his discipline, being the fourth runner to achieve the 100m, 200m, and 4x100m triple in World Championships after Maurice Green, Tyson Gay, and Usain Bolt. He is also a symbol of resilience. Open about the challenges he faced in childhood, including asthma crises that hindered his dreams of winning medals, Lyles found strength and tenacity to believe in his chances, now at the pinnacle of his discipline. Every fraction of a second gained is crucial to staying on top, as he emphasized in New York: "In my discipline, every fraction of a second counts, from the starting blocks to the finish line. The excellence that OMEGA brings instills great confidence (…)."
Training rigorously and repeating the same movements tirelessly is the daily routine for every athlete. Nathan Chen, who won the individual gold medal in figure skating with a 22-point lead over his closest competitor, understands this well. Born in Salt Lake City, a city synonymous with figure skating, he has lived and breathed his sport since the age of three. He explained, "It takes commitment and hard work for every detail to be perfect, and that's a strength we share (with OMEGA)."
Another athlete who captured everyone's attention is the multi-medaled Oksana Masters, excelling in para-biathlon, para-cycling, para-cross-country skiing, and para-rowing. As OMEGA's new ambassador, she has won 17 Paralympic titles and is also a testament to resilience. Born in Ukraine with both legs damaged by in-utero radiation poisoning from the Chernobyl nuclear reactor incident, she is now a globally recognized American para-athlete. At the 2023 Para-Cycling World Championships, she secured victory in a photo finish, emphasizing the importance of precision. She expressed her admiration for OMEGA's mastery of timing: "My personal experience has taught me that each sport requires a different approach, as well as specialized timing technology and equipment. The word I would associate most with the brand is confidence."
Admired for her consistency and exceptional track record, Allyson Felix is now a legend in athletics. Also present in New York for Planet OMEGA, she is the most decorated athlete with eleven Olympic medals, including seven gold, and thirteen world championships. Though retired from competition (she ended her career in July 2022), Felix continues to support causes close to her heart, including the plight of women and athlete mothers of young children. Reflecting on her commitment to OMEGA, she stated, "I participated in five Olympic Games, and every time, OMEGA provided a consistently high level of timing. This quality is unwavering."
The coming months will be intense in preparation for OMEGA and athletes worldwide as the Summer Olympic Games approach. Scheduled to take place in Paris from July 26 to August 11, 2024, the games will extend beyond Paris to various locations in France and its overseas territories. Football matches will be held in six provincial stadiums from Bordeaux to Marseille, with Lille hosting the finals of both the men's and women's handball tournaments, along with basketball qualification matches. Sailing will take place in the Mediterranean, specifically in Marseille, while, for the first time in history, surfing will be organized at one of the world's most beautiful waves, Teahupo'o in Tahiti.
The Paralympic Games are set to occur from August 28 to September 8, 2024, featuring 22 sports.
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