Olympic Clock Watching

Yesterday, in Trafalgar Square the London Olympic Games organisers unveiled a clock that was supposed to count down the 500 days to the opening ceremony in July 2012.

Today the clock stopped. There’s an obvious metaphor there, but we’ll ignore it and move on. There’s another problem.

The clock was started at 19:30 GMT on 14th March 2011. It was started with a count of 501 days. If you add 501 days to that date and time, you end up with 20:30 BST on 27th July 2012. Which is an hour after the opening ceremony starts at 19:30 BST.

I’m pretty sure that’s not how it’s supposed to work. I’m pretty sure that the countdown is supposed to finish exactly as the opening ceremony begins. So why the discrepancy? Well, it seems that someone has forgotten that we’re currently on GMT and that as the opening ceremony is in the summer we’ll then be on BST by then. We will have lost an hour, and therefore the countdown will end an hour too late.

I know that time changes can sometimes be a bit confusing. I admit to occasionally turning up an hour late for appointments in March (or an hourĀ  early for appointments in October) but you’d think that the Olympic Deliverance Team would check before making such a huge blunder.

Thanks to Zefram for pointing this out to me.

Update: The Guardian have published a letter from Zefram on the same subject.

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