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1948 photo finish
Olympic technology in 1948
The BBC's on-site Broadcasting Centre in 1948 was housed in the Palace of Arts, one of three now-demolished main buildings constructed for the 1924 British Empire Exhibition (the other palaces were Industry and Engineering). The 1948 Games were the first to be shown on home television, with an official audience of just 500,000 within the British Isles.
Among the technological innovations used by the BBC for televising the Austerity Games were CPS (Cathode Potential Stabilisation) Emitron cameras, which delivered a clearer image than previous CRT-based video cameras. The 1948 Games also saw the first use of a mobile television control room, for covering events at the Empire Pool (now the Wembley Arena).
As far as the all-important timing of events was concerned, things had moved on from the days when judges supplied their own stopwatches and did duty as timekeepers. Official automatic timing was first introduced at the 1932 Olympics in Los Angeles, courtesy of Omega and 30 pocket watch-sized counters and chronographs.
Omega used a new timekeeping system built around photoelectric cells in the 1948 Games, which also saw the first photo-finish technology, made by the London-based Race Finish Recording Company. Shown here is a photo-finish of the 100m final, in which Harrison Dillard (US) was awarded the gold medal.
Photo credit: Press Association