Israel’s Olympic Committee, an organization that governs Olympic sports in Israel, and the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology are establishing a joint sports research center “to encourage studies that will enhance Olympic sports in Israel in line with US and European models,” the university said in a statement late last month.
The center will be led by Professor Alon Wolf, of the Technion’s Mechanical Engineering department. Wolf is also the head of the Technion’s Laboratory for Bio-Robotics and Biomechanics, and his research focuses on robot use in surgery, rehabilitation, and rescue and recovery missions; the study of body mechanics; and the development of technologies to improve motor function.
The initiative, the university said, comes amid “recognition of the need for extensive and in-depth research on various aspects of sports” and followed a meeting held at the Technion with Olympic sport coaches.
The center’s first research project will focus on windsurfing, a sport for which Israeli athletes have brought home a number of Olympic medals, including the only Gold medal by Gal Fridman in the 2004 Athens Olympics.
“Very often we see that a fraction of a second or a few centimeters determine whether a competitor will win a gold medal,” said Professor Wolf. “This kind of advantage is the result of scientific understanding and its implementation in training and equipment.”
“We believe that if we implement the knowledge and capabilities that have made Israel the Start-Up Nation that it is today, into Olympic sports, we will be able to advance the achievements of our Olympic athletes and help them become role models whose achievements will infiltrate into Israel’s sports culture,” he went on.
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Technion President Prof. Peretz Lavie welcomed the establishment of the new research center saying “the cooperation between the Olympic Committee of Israel and the Technion is exceptional and very promising. This link between Technion scientists and leading Israeli athletes will upgrade human performance and ensure future achievements.”
Yigal Carmi, chairman of the Olympic Committee of Israel said the research center is set to give Israel an “advantageous position over our competitors in world sports with regards to scientific knowledge and technology.”
“The fields of biomechanics, motion analysis and technological development are areas of application that will now receive special attention so the performance of our athletes can be improved. The Olympic Committee of Israel welcomes and acknowledges this strategic cooperation with Technion, which involves the fusion of brilliant scientific minds for the benefit of Israeli Olympic sports. We are certain that this will push our sports performance forward.”
Judokas Yael Arad and Oren Smadja won Israel its first Olympic medals, a Silver and Bronze, respectively, at the 1992 games in Barcelona.
Arad attended the signing ceremony establishing the research center last month.