Timing's everything for Labrador City 'Olympian'

For Labrador City's Paul Smith, timing really is everything, especially for the Olympic curling matches at Sochi this month.
Labrador City's Paul Smith is in Sochi, Russia, serving as deputy chief timer for the curling competition. ((CBC))

For Labrador City's Paul Smith, timing really is everything.

It's the reason he's in Sochi, Russia, serving as the deputy chief timer for the curling competition at the Olympics.

Smith says the invite, received in an email, floored him.

"You could have knocked me over with a feather," he said last week, just before leaving for Russia.

Smith is more than qualified for the job, and well-known in international curling circles.

He's best known recently for developing a new and popular type of software called CurlTime.

It's a program he developed as a quick fix for his local Carol Curling Club in Labrador City.

"They asked me if I could put together something quick and dirty, so I did," Smith told CBC.

On the international clock

CurlTime is based on the simple premise of the international time clock, where each side is given 73 minutes to complete all of its throws.

The clock starts at the beginning of a game for the team throwing first. When that team's rock comes to a full stop, the clock starts for the opposing team.

It continues that way for the entire game, and usually only stops for timeouts and the fifth-end break.

Smith's program has become invaluable software since curling matches were put on the clock several years ago to speed up the game.

It's also the preferred software for the World Curling Federation but, ironically, it's not being used in Sochi.

That's because the International Olympic Committee chooses one company to time all of the events.

And while Smith has an internationally accepted system for curling, he doesn't have one for hockey, speed skating or any other event that's timed at the Olympics.