For Kristan finding solutions and technical answers just isn’t enough: he needs to get personally involved and verify the results himself. In 2002 he finds himself in the British Olympic team competing in Salt Lake City. Two years later he’s the World Cup Skeleton champion. Doctor Ice, as he’s now called in the circuit, builds his success on scientific research, technology, design, computer aided training and his personal abilities.
Kristan is not a sportsman using scientific research for progress in his discipline, rather a man of science personally engaged in exploring the scientific and technological limits of his work.
Today Kristan is the 2008 Skeleton World Champion. He speeds down the ice tracks then runs back to his post as a university professor in Sheffield (UK) using the data collected both by the computers and his own personal experience to improve his performance. At the Dept. of Physical Activity and Wellbeing of the Centre for Sport and Exercise Science of the Sheffield Hallam University he works with researchers and sports engineers. They test his physiological conditions and related bio-mechanics to get a grip on the body movements and the forces acting on his musculoskeletal system.
At the brand new Innovation Technology Centre just established on the outskirts of Sheffield, Kristan and his brother Richard, a qualified sports therapist who is continuing his engineering research activities through a PhD degree at Leeds University, study the relation between the physics, dynamics and technologies related to the Skeleton Bob-sledge challenge. They’ve won several research and design prizes: the Bae Chairman’s awards for innovation 1999, the Millennium Products Design Status 2000, the IPSO Design Award Munich Institute of Sport Technology in 2003.
For Doctor Ice, training and researching are two sides of the same medal. With a multiple camera system and specific sensors he measures his body performance: once he has it on a computer he can examine every second of his push. Then he calculates his muscle forces and understands what specific training he needs. “The measurement of performance is the first step towards understanding it. Only then can we start to improve performance in a sustainable way” says Kristan. He employs cutting edge methodologies, and his own personal experience to identify, define and more importantly understand, physiological, bio-medical, and psychological results. His training programme includes aerodynamics of the athlete and sled system with computer simulations and 3D body scanning.
Italy: 2008 / 58 min.
Director: Stefano Tealdi
In coproduction with ZDF
and in association with ARTE