Official Olympic Timekeeper OMEGA Hosts Event to Toast Paris Games

As the official Olympic timekeeper since 1932, OMEGA is keen to start the countdown to the 2024 Paris Olympic Games. We're under 100 days now! And to celebrate, the heritage watch brand hosted U.S. President Arnaud Michon hosted brand ambassadors Olympian Gabby Thomas and Paralympian Jessica Long in its Manhattan flagship. 

In a live discussion moderated by women's sports journalist Ariel Chambers, the audience learned about the athletic journeys of the two women and, of course, about Olympic timekeeping, which involves a new OMEGA Speedmaster Chronoscope made for these upcoming games. Also discussed: the synergies that exist between the watchmaker and athletes.


Omega Olympics

Paralympian Jessica Long, OMEGA U.S. president Arnaud Michon, and Olympian Gabby Thomas

Arnaud Michon, U.S. president of OMEGA, said the brand and Olympic athletes "share the same values," adding, "the Olympics is precise and accurate. The athletes spend years, months, and days training to win by this 100th of a second, which is the difference between a gold or silver medal. We do the same by investing in every detail of timekeeping. OMEGA is about precision and innovation; You can't ask Hussain Bolt to redo the race!"

Guests learned a bit about Paralympian swimmer Jessica Long, who began competing as a swimmer at age 12, twenty years ago in Athens and has won a total of 16 gold medals to date as she heads into her sixth Paralympic games; and Gabby Thomas, a track and field athlete specializing in the 200 meters who made her Olympic debut at Tokyo and won a bronze medal after completing a Harvard Neurobiology degree and while obtaining a Public Health master's degree from the University of Texas. Phew!

Here are more highlights from the event:

  • Thomas, who adores her White Side of the Moon Speedmaster even in competition, wore OMEGA's yellow gold Constellation 28mm watch during the event. "When I line up to race, I think about the finish line and the head-to-head competition," she says. "In training and practice, I consider the time absolutely; we time ourselves using a stopwatch, but It's not as sophisticated as an official OMEGA race timepiece."
  • Long, wearing the OMEGA Seamaster Aqua Terra 150mm 34mm with a rose gold and ruby face and red leather strap, will choose her watch this week. "I've won races by 100th of a second and lost by that, so details matter," she noted. "I want to be the first and get my hand there first, so I will have extra-long nails."
  • Long said becoming a Paralympian gave her confidence, citing the example of starting to wear shorts. She was born with fibular hemimelia in Russia, placed for adoption, and moved to the U.S. with her new family. At 18 months old, she had a double leg amputation.
  • Thomas, a self-proclaimed underdog, only began running seriously in college. She was raised by a single mom in a low-income household and fought hard to gain her spot as a Harvard student and Olympic athlete in spaces she initially didn't feel she belonged in. She added that making any U.S. team is the hardest in the world based on the number of competent athletes here.
  • Long moved to the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Training Center in Colorado Springs for these games, citing a personal desire for camaraderie and team spirit.
  • Fun fact: Thomas volunteers at a healthcare clinic in Austin, Texas, designed to serve the healthcare underserved. "It's important to show the younger generation who are watching us as athletes commit our time to make an impact and give back to our communities, too," she said. In Paris, she looks forward to post-game culinary treats such as the viral cookie croissant.
  • Long authored the children's book "The Mermaid with No Tail" and is a self-described "card shark." She notes that Paralympic stands for "Alongside the Olympics." She recalled the 2016 games when she was injured and suffering from an eating disorder. For nine days, she underperformed but won a gold medal on day 10. Despite being initially hard on herself, she recognized the process and that she is "more than her medals."