Ray Ewry Sports Engineering Center

The Ray Ewry Sports Engineering Center (RESEC) is named in honor of a record-setting Olympian and College of Engineering graduate, Ray Ewry. As a joint effort between the College of Engineering and Purdue Intercollegiate Athletics, the center reflects Ewry’s passion for both sports and engineering and advances research and learning opportunities to athletes and students alike. The center benefits Purdue student-athletes and other high-level athletes in regional, national, and international competition.

As a fully comprehensive, university-based network for sports engineering, the center has the extensive expertise needed to advance high-quality sports equipment and enhance performance in addition to being on the forefront of data science and engineering for fan experience.

Ray Ewry

Who Was Ray Ewry?

A Boilermaker track and field athlete, Ewry (1873-1937) was a Lafayette native who won eight gold medals in three Olympic Games from 1900 to 1908, plus an additional two golds at the 1906 Olympic Intercalated Games in Athens. Even as one of the most successful Olympic athletes, his story is relatively unknown. At the age of five he became an orphan, and at the age of seven he contracted polio and was confined to a wheelchair. Doctors had little hope he would be able to walk, but Ewry, a determined and driven individual even at a young age, refused to believe that was his fate. As part of his rehabilitation, he would force himself to stand and walk until he was eventually able to jump.

In 1890, Ewry enrolled as a Purdue Mechanical Engineering undergraduate and matriculated as a graduate student before teaching at Purdue. It was during Purdue’s first Field Day in 1891 that Ewry discovered a passion for track and field. He dedicated himself to the sport, eventually becoming a team captain, and in 1900, Ewry became the first Big Ten athlete in history to win an Olympic gold medal.

Nicknamed “The Human Frog,” Ewry won gold in the standing long and high jumps and standing triple jump. By the end of the 1908 Games, Ewry had won eight gold medals, setting a medal count record that would last more than 100 years.

While in Athens for the 1906 Intercalated Games, Ewry collected some soil and brought it back to the US, where it was untouched until 1928 when he sprinkled it onto the turf at the inauguration of the Ross-Ade Football Stadium. This meaningful gesture exemplified Ewry’s dedication to both Purdue and the Olympic spirit.

People

Executive Director:

Biography

Mansson’s research focuses on the design and manufacturing of composite systems for high-performance applications in the aerospace, automotive and sports sectors. His background includes some years in industry and on the faculty of University of Washington. He then joined EPFL, Lausanne, in 1990 as professor and head of the Composite Laboratory, where he also served as vice president for the University and chairman of the Sport Management Education (AISTS), and PI for the Sport & Rehabilitation Engineering Program. He also was responsible for the America’s Cup Alinghi – EPFL R&D; program. In 2016, he came to Purdue University as a Distinguished Professor in Engineering and recently was appointed executive director of the newly created Ray Ewry Sports Engineering Center. He is a board member of the Athlete Learning Gateway at the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and chairman of the Approval Committee for the International Swimming Federation (FINA). Mansson is a member of the Swedish and the Swiss Academy of Engineering Sciences.

Affiliate Faculty:

Biography

Nauman graduated from the University of Delaware in 1995 and obtained his master’s degree and Ph.D. from U.C. Berkeley. Immediately thereafter, he joined the faculty in biomedical engineering at Tulane University. In 2004, Nauman founded the Human Injury Research and Regenerative Technologies (HIRRT) Laboratory at Purdue University. Since then, he has co-founded two companies, Advanced Regeneration Technologies and IFBattery. Nauman has been inducted into both Purdue’s Book of Great Teachers and the Purdue Research Foundation’s Innovators Hall of Fame. Recently, Nauman, along with fellow Professors Larry Leverenz and Thomas M. Talavage, received the Bernie Flowers Award for Outstanding Contributions to Amateur Football from the Joe Tiller Chapter of the National Football Foundation.

Senior Advisory Board Members:

Board Members:

Purdue University's Olympic Athlete Prowess

Track & Field

USA Flag REPRESENTING USA
  • Ray Ewry (1900, 1904, 1906, 1908) – 8 gold medals
  • Lacy Hearn (1904) – 1 silver medal; 1 bronze medal
  • Bill Verner (1903-1906)
  • Ed Glover (1906) – 1 bronze medal
  • Cliff Furnas (1920-22) – 1 bronze medal
  • Larry Burton (1972)
  • Chris Huffins (2000) – 1 bronze medal
  • Kara (Patterson) Winger (2008, 2012, 2016)
Croatia Flag REPRESENTING CROATIA
  • Nedzad Mulabegovic (2004, 2008, 2012)

Swimming

USA Flag REPRESENTING USA
  • Keith Carter (1948) – 1 silver medal
  • Coralie O’Conner (1952) – 1 silver medal
  • Betty Brey (1956)
  • Joan Rosazza (1956)
Canada Flag REPRESENTING CANADA
  • Beth Whittal (1956)
Hungary Flag REPRESENTING HUNGARY
  • Gyongyver Lakos (2000)
Malaysia Flag REPRESENTING MALAYSIA
  • Jinq En Phee (2016)
Mexico Flag REPRESENTING MEXICO
  • Javier Diaz (2004)
Singapore Flag REPRESENTING SINGAPORE
  • Gerald Koh (1996)

Basketball

USA Flag REPRESENTING USA
  • Howie Williams (1952) – 1 gold medal
  • Terry Dischinger (1960) – 1 gold medal

Wrestling

USA Flag REPRESENTING USA
  • Joe Corso (1976)

Handball

USA Flag REPRESENTING USA
  • Carol “Coke” Lindsey (1984)

Four-man Bobsled

USA Flag REPRESENTING USA
  • Douglas Sharp (2002) – 1 bronze medal

Diving

USA Flag REPRESENTING USA
  • David Boudia (2008, 2012, 2016) – 1 gold medal, 1 silver medal, 2 bronze medals
  • Steele Johnson (2016) – 1 silver medal
  • Mary Beth Dunnichay (2008)

Rowing

USA Flag REPRESENTING USA
  • Amanda Elmore (2016) – 1 gold medal

Baseball

Netherlands Flag REPRESENTING NETHERLANDS
  • Mike Duursma (2008)

Research

The RESEC provides focus and energy to the ground-breaking and innovative research happening across Purdue that can impact athletic performance, athlete safety, fan experience, and the optimization of data science and sports engineering.

Smart Performance and
Fan Experience


Sensor-based technology is a rapidly expanding opportunity to make athletes more competitive while simultaneously enhancing the fan experience. The Ray Ewry Sports Engineering Center is developing novel sensor-integrated versions of sports equipment to help athletes and coaches improve performance and training. Smart stadium technology offers extensive opportunities for enhancing fan engagement. The RESEC team is developing low-risk, high-return methods for optimizing athletes’ performance, increasing fan engagement, and enhancing overall viewer excitement.

Injury Reduction and
Advanced Rehabilitation


Purdue is uniquely positioned to engineer solutions to keep players on the field, consistently playing injury-free. The center’s commitment to injury reduction and advanced rehabilitation serves as a valuable recruitment tool as Purdue continues to draw the most competitive student-athletes in the nation. By working in areas such as the advancement of non-invasive lactate level testing, the evaluation of protective equipment, and the design of safer playing surfaces, the RESEC is pioneering the next generation of sport. Helping players return to the field as safely and successfully as possible is a priority, and with the ability to both design new types of load-bearing braces and use non-invasive methods to quantify the strength of healing tendons, ligaments, and bones, athletes can be confident when they step back onto the field.

Sports Integrity, Fairness, and
Social Integration


As every athlete knows, sports are far more than just physical activity— they build self-esteem, stimulate mental and emotional growth, relieve stress, and enhance a person’s sense of accomplishment and social well-being. But in order to reap these benefits, it’s critical that a level playing field is maintained. Significant new research addresses issues in the merging interfaces of sports integrity, fairness, and social integration.

Focus Areas

Education

Education and Outreach Goals

  • Demonstrate the close interplay between the development of emerging technologies and their rapid implementation in competition sports
  • Emphasize the impact of equipment, apparel, and facilities on performance, safety, physiology, and biomechanics
  • Manage the technology and principles relating to the ruling and approval of equipment and facilities
  • Trigger innovative ideas for next-generation sports technology and entrepreneurship

Contact Us

Center Director

Jan-Anders Mansson
Purdue University
Distinguished Professor of Materials and Chemical Engineering

Indiana Manufacturing Institute
1105 Challenger Ave., Suite 400
West Lafayette, IN 47906
jmansson@purdue.edu

Student Lead

Anna Giesler
Purdue University Ph.D. Candidate
ISEA Executive Committee Student Representative

Indiana Manufacturing Institute
1105 Challenger Ave., Suite 400
West Lafayette, IN 47906
giesler@purdue.edu

Media contact

Brian Huchelbhuchel@purdue.edu