Jan 29, 2015
Learning Olympic-Level Skills

For exercise science students at the State University of New York at Cortland, what was once a neat and educational club on campus is yielding opportunities to work with Olympic-level athletes from the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) in Colorado Springs, Colo. As part of an informal partnership, the USOC is leaning on Cortland’s exercise scientists to manipulate, analyze, and catalog video footage for USA Fencing.
The fencing analysis is conducted by Cortland’s 40-member Dartfish Club, which has more than $1 million in video analysis software and services that were gifted by Dartfish Ltd.

“We actually have the largest undergraduate program developing Dartfish-certified people in the world,” Jeffrey Bauer, a Professor of Kinesiology at Cortland told the school’s website. “We’re the best at what we do.”

According to the school’s website, the Dartfish Club works closely with Mounir Zok, Senior Sports Technologist for the USOC. The USOC provides raw videos of fencing matches, and then the students edit the clips and tag them with keywords that allow for easy analysis.

“What we’re doing now is a lot of database work and categorizing for them,” said Andrew Branca, a junior exercise science major at Cortland. “We send Mounir the video, we wait, and then he tells us if he’s happy with it.”

Bauer says the relationship is allowing the students to learn a very marketable skill. Those who pass an exam to earn a Dartfish certification are granted access to a Dartfish video channel used exclusively by others in the certified community.

“It’s sort of like LinkedIn,” Bauer said. “It puts them out there with a video resume, and it introduces them to others in the field.”

The school has already placed a few Dartfish-trained graduates as interns at the USOC’s Colorado Springs training facility and Bauer hopes the relationship continues to grow.

“The club allows for continuity,” Bauer said. “(Students) have an ‘in’ with Mounir, he knows their names, and they don’t have to be trained. For them to be able to put the Olympics on their resumes, that’s pretty special.”

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