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Sheffield is leading the way to the Olympic Games 2012, according to a leading sports engineer.

Professor Steve Haake, of Sheffield Hallam University and Technical Director of SportsPulse, was speaking at his inaugural professorial lecture at the University last week.

He said: "The city has an athletic legacy which started from hosting the World Student Games in 1991. There are many equipment manufacturers in the region that have built on that legacy.

"On top of that, the facilities here are some of the best in the country, and there is some really important work being done by the region's sport engineers and sport scientists."

Professor Haake's lecture, 'Newton at the Olympics - advances in sports engineering', began by explaining Newton's laws with the help of sporting examples from the European Championship 2008 and Wimbledon.

Beginning with the first ever Olympic games in Ancient Greece, Professor Haake used 3D technology, slow-motion video and computer simulations. He showed how technology can be used to overcome performance obstacles like aerodynamic drag and gravity.

His team have worked closely with athletes and sports companies to improve performance and equipment. Earlier this year they helped Sheffield's 'Ice King' Kristan Bromley take the European bob skeleton title. They are also working with Great Britain's diving and speed-skating teams, and the University has now been awarded 'Centre of Excellence' status by UK Sport.

Steve said: "Being named as a UK Sport Centre of Excellence means that Sheffield Hallam University will be helping many more athletes in the region."

Steve and his team gained international fame for analysing the science behind David Beckham’s free kicks. Earlier in the year he was invited to the Rome Institute of Engineering to highlight how technology can be used to develop sports equipment. His team have worked with Adidas, Puma, Reebok, Prince, and many other leading industry brands. 

For press information: contact Joe Field in the University’s press office on 0114 225 2074 or email