We take a closer look at the technology being used to train, monitor and rehabilitate our athletes
We’re just days away from the opening ceremony of Rio Olympics, 2016. The 77 athletes, making up Team Ireland, are there and while our attention may only be turning to them now, the athletes have been training for this moment for many years. I took a trip to the Irish Institute of Sport in Abbottstown to look at the technology used to train, monitor and rehabilitate our athletes.
The facility officially opened in January of this year, after some €4 million was spent on its construction. The campus is located just behind the National Aquatic Centre and the goal for this large plot of land is for it to become the home of Irish sport.
Walking through the main door of the Institute, three words are visible: Believe, Perform, Achieve. This is the mantra for those working and training on site.
This was my second trip to the campus this year and I have to say that is such an impressive facility.
I met with Alan Swanton, performance analyst with the Irish Institute of Sport. He has worked extensively with the boxing and swimming teams. We met in the boxing training area, which has five rings and a wall full of punch bags.
He told me a bit about the technological advancements that have entered his realm.
Each training ring has five cameras place above it. These cameras automatically record once an athlete enters the ring. This may sound like a basic use of technology, but up until as recently as March, coaches were standing ringside and recording sessions on their smartphones.
This is still the case in some sports, such as swimming. Coaches purchase waterproof covers for their phones to record and monitor the speed of a swimmer's turn.
Alan gave me some insight into how his team use the data they collate.
The technical data and analysis helps provide a fuller picture for the athlete, coaches and service providers working on each team.
There's more to training for the Olympics than just being out in the field as Toni Rossiter, head of performance physiology at the Institute of Sport, explained to me. We sat in one of the performance labs on site, surrounded by huge treadmills that can carry anything from an individual runner to a cyclist on a bike.
Toni explained how she and her team have embraced technology to enhance the training, monitoring and rehabilitation processes for our athletes.
Athletes, coaches and everyone involved in the training process inserts data into a cloud-based system to provide at full 360 degree view of how the athlete is performing. Toni also told me about a relatively new testing method she has been using on our athletes. It's called salivary testing.
At this stage, our athletes are in Rio and are awaiting their first encounter. All was calm on site at the Institute of Sport last Thursday, but all the coaches left behind will be eager watching every second of the coverage.
Alan Swanton gave me some insight into what the boxers will do to prepare over the coming days.
We will bring you all of the action from Rio 2016 right here on Newstalk.com.