A new center at Purdue will be named in honor of Purdue alumnus Ray Ewry, who held the most total gold medals in the Olympics for 100 years until 2008, despite later contracting polio.
The Raw Ewry Sports Engineering Center aims to focus on smart performance and fan experience, integrity, health and injury reduction. Jan-Anders Mansson, the future director of the center, has had experience in sports management and has worked with the International Olympics Committee in the past.
Eric Nauman, an engineering professor, will be working on research projects and education analysis for the center. He said he believes that Purdue can do so much in those categories considering the strong STEM programs.
“It’s a very natural thing to want to apply STEM to sports,” Nauman said over the phone.
Research will be conducted on a wide array of topics, including sports material, biomechanics, medicine, data analytics and visualization. Nauman said they are running experiments to figure out which equipment helps athletes and factors that improve performance and decrease injury.
Students have already been involved with the professor’s research, and Mansson said he and his team are looking for both undergraduate and graduate students.
Mansson is currently doing research with a student on a new material for swimsuits, and he said that the center wants to work very closely with athletes.
“We will be using the collective competencies of the university and will be working very (interdisciplinarily) with our activities,” Mansson said over the phone.
Mansson said the center is being made in Ewry’s name because of his legacy and character.
“He was the person that showed how you could combine engineering and sports. ... He showed how you could, ... with great determination, achieve things that no one could imagine,” Mansson said.
There has been no final decision on the physical location of the center, but the research that will happen in the center has already started at the Indiana Manufacturing Institute and at existing laboratories across Purdue, such as the MRI Facility and the Human Injury Research and Regenerative Technologies Lab.
The development of the Sports Engineering Center was announced at the homecoming game by Christophe Dubi, the executive director of the IOC.
Purdue is working in collaboration with the IOC, and an agreement was signed last weekend that included sports intelligence, reporting and online education for athletes. The IOC will reportedly develop a bimonthly report that will highlight technology affecting sports.