Richard Westenra's Posts

Expecting the Unexpected: Edge Cases in Web Design

In 1976, Swiss watchmakers Omega were responsible for constructing the scoreboards for the Montreal Olympics. They asked the International Olympic Committee how many digits the boards would be required to display for the gymnastic events, and were informed that three digits ought to be sufficient. No gymnast had ever achieved a perfect 10.00, and the IOC maintained that it was “not possible”.

Enter 14-year-old Romanian gymnast Nadia Comaneci. On the second day of the Montreal Games, she made her first Olympic appearance on the uneven bars. The judges agreed: Her routine was flawless. One of them approached Omega representative Daniel Baumat, who was working in the arena. “She asked what to do. I said that they could either put up 1.00 or .100 but that there was no possibility for a 10.00. Just as the federation had told me.”

Minutes later, the three-digit Omega board displayed her score: a perfect 1.00.

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