A look at timing for Winter Olympic sports

AP News
Posted: Feb 12, 2014 5:52 PM

KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia (AP) — When Slovenia's Tina Maze and Switzerland's Dominique Gisin were both timed in 1 minute, 41.57 seconds in the women's downhill at the Sochi Olympics on Wednesday, each was awarded a gold medal.

It's the only first-place tie in Alpine skiing, which became an Olympic sport in 1936, and has timed events out to hundredths of a second since 1964. Some other Winter Games sports go to thousandths of a second.

"I'd love to see (Alpine) go to the thousandth. ... I'd love to know. Me and everybody else. We'd all love to know. If it's gauge-able, let us have it," Picabo Street, an American who won Alpine Olympic gold and silver in the 1990s, said Wednesday. "If you've got it, give it to me. They give it to me in speedskating. Why not here? Because we're going 80 mph and coming 3,000 feet down the mountain? Give it to me. Give me that thousandth. I want it. I bet Maze wants it, too."

Here is a look at how timing works elsewhere at the Sochi Olympics:

SPEEDSKATING: Times are taken to thousandths of a second if needed to break ties. Various systems are used to determine times, including lasers at the line and transponders worn by skaters, so the result sometimes adjusts slightly after a heat finishes.

LUGE: Since 1976, measured to thousandths of a second. One Olympic tie for gold, in doubles in 1972, when the sport was still measured to hundredths.

BOBSLED: Measured to hundredths. Tie for gold in two-man bobsled in 1998.

SKELETON: Measured to hundredths. No Olympic ties so far.

CROSS-COUNTRY: Measured to tenths in long-distance races, to hundredths in the sprints. The timing system was changed after a 15-kilometer race at the 1980 Lake Placid Olympics was won by 0.01, and the International Ski Federation decided to change distance events to timing by tenths.

SNOWBOARDING: In snowboardcross, parallel giant slalom and parallel slalom events, qualifying heats are measured to hundredths.