16 Mar 2011

False start for London countdown clock

6:02 am on 16 March 2011

London Olympic organisers were left red-faced last night when a giant clock in Trafalgar Square marking the countdown to the 2012 Games stopped just hours after being unveiled at a glitzy ceremony.

The steel digital clock, measuring 6.5 metres tall and five metres long, froze with 500 days, 7 hours, 6 minutes and 56 seconds to go before the start of the Games.

It had been unveiled the previous day London's organising committee chairman Sebastian Coe and four British Olympic gold medallists, to coincide with the first Games tickets going on sale.

The Swiss watchmakers Omega issued a statement expressing their disappointment over the breakdown, saying the clock had been developed by experts and fully tested ahead of its launch.