15 March 2012

British Athletes Use Video to Run Faster, Jump Higher at Games@bloomberg

British athletes are turning to the biggest-ever Olympic video analysis project to improve their performance in between heats at this year’s Games in London.

The British Olympic Association will use live video footage from the venues to analyze athletes’ performances and movement in competition during the Games, which start July 27. The video feed, which costs 120,000 pounds ($191,000), will be sent to Team GB House, located just outside of the Olympic Park at the Stratford Westfield shopping center.

The captured footage will be fed into software produced by Dartfish, a Fribourg, Switzerland-based company that’s used by dozens of sports organizations and governing bodies as well as elite athletes including Olympic sprint champion Usain Bolt. The British team is the only team to have minute-by-minute live access to the Olympic Broadcasting Services feed during the Games, said Dave Reddin, director of performance services at the BOA and a former England rugby player.

“From our point of view, there is very little home advantage,” at the London Games, Reddin said. “There are no extra seats, there are no extra privileges for Team GB. Hence we need to try and think more creatively about how we make the best of what we’ve got. And I think this will help us.”

As many as six analysts from the English Institute of Sport will be at Team GB House for up to 20 hours a day to help capture relevant video and provide analysis on athletes or scout the opposition in team sports such as basketball so the coaches can make the necessary adjustments.

“Coaches can only recall 30 percent of what they see, so that means 70 percent of the information isn’t used,” said Stafford Murray, head of performance analysis and biomechanics at the English Institute of Sport.

It’s the first time privately-held Dartfish, which was founded in 1998, will be delivering such a large project during an Olympic Games, Victor Bergonzoli, co-founder and chief executive officer, said in an interview.

“The goal is to get real-time feeds as quickly as possible into the hands of the coaches and athletes,” Bergonzoli said. During a soccer match for example, Dartfish will be able to tag all the passes not ending with a shot on goal, and send those clips to the coaches’ handheld devices such as iPads or tablets immediately after the game for analysis.

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