A Real Photo Finish

Photo Finish 2008-08-19, originally uploaded by Points North.

After almost every sprint, CBC pops up one of these photo finish shots to show the viewers. And every time, I have trouble figuring out what I'm seeing, except for seeing the clear winner, and wondering in such an obvious outcome, why bother. But after this race, was it ever needed!

After the women's 100m hurdles, the results took an awful long time to come up. And then suddenly Priscilla Lopes-Schliep was jumping up and down with the Australian Sally McLellan; neither could believe they'd medalled. But hurdles is a fickle sport. Stars hit the top of the hurdle, fall down, trip up, slow down, and suddenly another has a chance. With a nudge at one of the hurdles, the only star left in the competition fell back into the pack, and the other American, the Australian, and the Canadian surged forward. All three who medalled were stunned.

The reason why this photo finish took so long to figure out was that the second and third, the Australian and the Canadian, were so close together that they had to go to the 1/1000s in the Omega clock. Their official times are exactly the same, but they are 1/1000 of a second different. That's what separates silver and bronze. That's an awfully fine difference! What a sweet, sweet outcome for the unknown Canadian hurdler with the big smile!