Countdown clock for London Olympics freezes for hours
The official London 2012 Olympic countdown clock is attended to by technicians hours after it was started in Trafalgar Square in London, Tuesday March 15, 2011. (AP / Alastair Grant)
Published Tuesday, March 15, 2011 4:40PM EDT
LONDON - A giant clock counting down to the 2012 London Olympics stopped for several hours Tuesday, less than a day after it went on display in Trafalgar Square.
The digital clock, made by Olympic sponsor Omega, was stuck at 500 days seven hours six minutes 56 seconds before workers fixed it.
"It's one of those windups set to test us, but it's working again," London organizing committee chairman Sebastian Coe said.
Four British Olympic champions -- rowers Pete Reed and Andy Hodge and sailors Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson -- unveiled the steel clock on Monday amid pyrotechnics near Nelson's Column to mark the 500-day countdown to the July 27, 2012, opening ceremony.
"The clock underwent rigorous testing by our experts before the launch," Omega, which is part of the Swatch Group AG, the world's largest watchmaker, said in a statement. "This is very unusual and we are hoping to have it back up and running soon."
Coe had said the clock would serve as a "daily and hourly reminder to everyone who visits Trafalgar Square that the countdown to the start of London 2012 has well and truly begun and that the greatest show on earth is soon coming to our country."
The clock's failure wasn't the only Olympic glitch Tuesday, when 6.6 million tickets went on sale. A few hours into the ticket launch, fans with Visa credit cards which expire before the end of August found that organizers were unable to process their orders.
Visa is an Olympic sponsor and the only card that can be used to purchase tickets.