UPDATED 18:03 EST / JUNE 27 2013


Replacing Dope with Data : One Athlete Sets Out to Reform Sports | #hadoopsummit

Often describing theCUBE as “the ESPN of tech”, co-hosts John Furrier and Dave Vellante are engaging “tech athletes” in lively conversations at Hadoop Summit this week, broadcasting live from the San Jose event. After countless interviews with these “tech athletes,” theCUBE managed to welcome an actual athlete, Sky Christopherson, former cyclist and current entrepreneur.

Sky Christopherson talked a bit about his career, from the early days to his more recent accomplishments. Called a ”Wunderkind” by The New York Times, Sky broke a world record by training with a ”digital health” program. All the more impressive, given the previous record holder received a lifetime ban for performance enhancing drug use. “Doping is a huge problem in sports,” admits Christopherson, “but we are looking at ways to move forward.”

Sky Christopherson is trying to reform the sports without the aid of drugs, while still ensuring breakthrough performances. “It’s in the human nature to push forward and achieve amazing things, the real challenge is achieving that without the use of drugs.”

Replacing dope with data


He decided to use Big Data to optimize lifestyle factors (summation of marginal game), in a project called Optimized Athlete. The program helped athletes win medals at the 2012 London Olympics and was featured in the Financial Times and Wired Magazine, as well as in the documentary film “Personal Gold”.

“Personal Gold” is a documentary about four American cyclists, followed in the months and days prior to their win at the 2012 London Olympics. The film reveals the innovating drug-free methods for health and performance, using tools from the ”digital health revolution”.

Christopherson is convinced he can find these fine-tune optimizers in a natural way. “In Olympics training, the goal is to clamp down as many variables as you can, in lifestyle and in the routine, so you need to know which things to recommend. You can do different things to control the environment, the circadian rhythms, and the temperature in your sleep. Using the “digital health program, they were able to improve the athletes’ performance with a couple of seconds in a matter of months.

As an entrepreneur, Christopherson is “pioneering a new way forward”, proving how new technology enables people have more opportunities.

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