Analyzing Olympic success in Athens
Coto de Caza resident Gideon Ariel isthe keynote speaker at the Pre-OlympicScientific Congress in Athens.
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By LEO JUAREZSTAFF WRITER
Dr. Gideon Ariel of Coto de Caza first tasted Olympic glory as a discus thrower and shot-putter for Israel in the 1960 Olympies in Rome and again four years later in Tokyo.
When he returned to the Olympic stage in 1968, lie was careful to study the competition - literally. That year, he invented the
first computerized system to analyze the performance of Olympic athletes. And he's analyzed every Olympics since, with the exception of the U.S.:boycotted 1980 Moscow Games.
A pioneer .. and oije of the world's leading experts in biomechanics - the application of physics to body movement - Ariel was invited to be a keynote speaker at the Pre-Olym-r pie Scientific Congress, which starts today in Athens. The conference, held at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, showcases the role of science in sports.
Q. What is your speech about?
A. I'll be presenting on bio
mechanics. What I'm going to be talking about is the high-speed video and software that we use to analyze athletic performance. We treat the body as an engineering model where you can calculate the speed of all the joints of the body. From there, you can calculate acceleration and force.
Today, it's all digital cameras and all the information can go through the Internet. In this case, it will go to a few universities in Greece that are using my systems. I will put some of the information on my website.
Q. Which athletes will you be analyzing in Athens?
A. I'm going to be collecting information at the shotput event in Olympia. We can put cameras on the field. I'm supposed to do the track and field events in Athens, but it's a big question mark. We don't know.
It's going to be like a military camp. I heard it will be very difficult to bring the cameras onto the field. We never had problems in previous Olympics, but things have changed.
Q. Which sports do you prefer analyzing, and which do you simply enjoy watching?
A. I analyze mostly the track and field events because it's
very technical, but I like to see diving and I like gymnastics. They're different because its very subjective scoring, whereas track and field is, very precise. It's how fast you run or how high you jump. But if you look at gymnastics, the whole scoring
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system is not always scien- is f tific. The person who does any better technically isn't always coc the winner. tim 0. What do you enjoy most at i about the Olympic experience? this A. You're suddenly in a place arc where everybody wishes the pre world was like this. Everyone
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