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.

We see that sports have the power to unite, to teach, to challenge, and to initiate change, and those are our goals for RESEC. We are driven by our passion for sport and a deep understanding of the influence it has in shaping society. As technology continues to advance, there is enormous room for opportunity to rethink how athletes train, coaches coach, fans engage, and event organizers plan events. Engineering and data science are at the center of excitement, health and safety, and the integrity of sport, and by bringing a data-driven, analytical approach to this industry, we can address the growing need and desire to increase participation and engagement of athletes and fans.

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.

Purdue University's Olympic Athletes

Baseball

  • Mike Duursma (2008) Netherlands Flag

Basketball

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

Diving

  • David Boudia (2008, 2012, 2016) USA Flag 1 gold medal, 1 silver medal, 2 bronze medals
  • Steele Johnson (2016) USA Flag 1 silver medal
  • Mary Beth Dunnichay (2008) USA Flag
  • Tyler Downs (2020) USA Flag
  • Brandon Loschiavo (2020) USA Flag

Four-man Bobsled

  • Douglas Sharp (2002) USA Flag 1 bronze medal

Handball

  • Carol “Coke” Lindsey (1984) USA Flag

Rowing

  • Amanda Elmore (2016) USA Flag 1 gold medal

Soccer

  • Lauren Sesselmann (2012) Canada Flag - 1 bronze medal

Swimming

  • Nicola Aćin (2020) Serbia Flag
  • Betty Brey (1956) USA Flag
  • Keith Carter (1948) USA Flag 1 silver medal
  • Javier Diaz (2004) Mexico Flag
  • Jinq En Phee (2016, 2020) Malaysia Flag
  • Gerald Koh (1996) Singapore Flag
  • Gyongyver Lakos (2000) Hungary Flag
  • Coralie O’Conner (1952) USA Flag 1 silver medal
  • Joan Rosazza (1956) USA Flag
  • Beth Whittal (1956) Canada Flag

Track & Field

  • Larry Burton (1972) USA Flag
  • Camille Buscomb (2020) New Zealand Flag
  • Devynne Charlton (2020) Bahamas flag
  • Samson Colebrooke (2020) Bahamas flag
  • Chukwuebuka Enekwechi (2020) Nigeria Flag
  • Cliff Furnas (1920-22) USA Flag 1 bronze medal
  • Ray Ewry (1900, 1904, 1906, 1908) USA Flag 8 gold medals
  • Ed Glover (1906) USA Flag 1 bronze medal
  • Lacy Hearn (1904) USA Flag 1 silver medal; 1 bronze medal
  • Chris Huffins (2000) USA Flag 1 bronze medal
  • Nedzad Mulabegovic (2004, 2008, 2012) Croatia Flag
  • Bill Verner (1903-1906) USA Flag
  • Kara (Patterson) Winger (2008, 2012, 2016, 2020) USA Flag

Volleyball

  • Annie Drews (2020) USA Flag - 1 gold medal

Wrestling

  • Joe Corso (1976) USA Flag

Purdue University's Paralympic Athletes

Para Rowing

  • Emma Preuschl (2008, 2012) USA Flag - 1 silver medal

Swimming

  • Evan Austin (2012, 2016, 2020) USA Flag - 1 gold medal; 1 bronze medal
  • Makayla Nietzel (2020) USA Flag

Track and Field

  • Joel Gomez (2020) USA Flag

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

The Ray Ewry Sports Engineering Center recognizes that big ideas and innovative thinking is what will bring sports technology into the future. As part of its activities, RESEC collaborates with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) by developing periodical articles for Games Flash, an internal emailer of the IOC, highlighting insights about the latest technologies impacting sport globally. "As the IOC continues to evolve and develop the Olympic Games, Purdue’s expertise in science and technology will be a valuable support to our work”, said Christophe Dubi, the Olympic Games Executive Director. The articles produced as part of this collaboration can be found here.

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

Executive Director

Jan-Anders Mansson
jmansson@purdue.edu
Purdue University
Distinguished Professor of Materials and Chemical Engineering

Indiana Manufacturing Institute
1105 Challenger Ave., Suite 400
West Lafayette, IN 47906

Director and Student Lead

Anna Giesler
giesler@purdue.edu
Purdue University Graduate Research Assistant
ISEA Executive Committee Student Representative

Indiana Manufacturing Institute
1105 Challenger Ave., Suite 400
West Lafayette, IN 47906

Media contact

Brian Huchelbhuchel@purdue.edu