The countdown clock for the 2010 Winter Olympics may have taken a licking since its unveiling, but today it has stopped ticking.

Olympic officials were notified early Thursday morning that the six-metre digital clock had stopped running, its normally luminescent face turned blank.

It appears the problem originated with faulty wiring.

"It doesn't appear to be vandalism, so we're grateful for that," says Renee Smith-Valade, a spokesperson for the Vancouver Olympic Organizing Committee.

She says a maintenance crew is working to reset the piece. The clock counting down to the Paralympic Games is still working.

The darkened clock face drew crowds outside of Vancouver's Art Gallery, where visitors took pictures beside the stopped timepiece.

"I'm looking at it and it looks sad really," Jordan Kryzanowski told CTV News. "I guess we're not going to have the Olympics anymore. I'd say get it back running and we can get back on track for the Olympics."

But even though the clock has stopped, VANOC says timekeeping efforts have not.

"We keep a counter that keeps running all the time so we'll just reset it where it needs to be," says Smith-Valade.

Often a target

The official Omega Olympic countdown clock was unveiled among protests at a three-year countdown celebration for the 2010 Games in February 2007.

Protesters armed with balls of rocks and paint balloons crashed the stage during the presentation, shoving a startled VANOC executive away from the microphone.

This summer, another group doused the steel and glass showpiece with white paint, but were caught several blocks away.

The clock, which measures 20-feet high and weighs 1,170 kilograms, counts down the remaining days, hours, minutes and seconds to the Opening Ceremonies of the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.

It was built by EEC Industries of North Vancouver, B.C., with three massive columns of steel, Plexiglas and red cedar.

The 2010 Olympic Games take place in Vancouver and Whistler from February 12 to 28, 2010. Vancouver and Whistler will host the Paralympic Winter Games from March 12 to 21, 2010.