Ariel, Gideon : Jews In Sports @ Virtual Museum

Ariel, Gideon

track and field

Country Represented:

Years Competed:
1960, 1964

Olympic Info:
One of Israel's top track and field competitors in the 1960s, Ariel competed in two Olympiads. At the 1960 Rome Olympics, he competed in the shot put, but did not advance to the finals (he did not reach the required distance of 54'11-3/8" in the preliminary round). Ariel also competed in the discus throw, but did not reach the qualifying distance of 170'7-1/4" to reach the finals.

Ariel returned to the Olympics in 1964 (in Tokyo)and competed in the men's discus throw, achieving a distance of 46.12 meters.

Career Highlights:
As a teenager in the 1950s, Ariel wanted to be an athlete, and when he found out that Israel's best distance in the discus throw was less than 160 feet, he said, "I can do better than that." For the next four years, he trained relentlessly and eventually competed in the Rome Olympics, but he found "...coaches meant well, but one would say one thing, another would contradict him. It was all opinion. How did they know?" This question followed Ariel to the United States when he studied at the University of Wyoming after serving in the Israeli army. In the mid-1960s, he received his Master's Degree and PhD from the University of Massachusetts (in Exercise and Computer Science), became a track coach, and transformed the way athletes train.

An expert in biomechanics (the science which links physics to movement of the body), in 1968 Ariel invented the first computerized system that accurately measured athletes' movement according to Newton's laws of motion . In the early 1970s, he worked with the United States Olympic Committee and was influential in the development of a permanent U.S. Olympic Training Center. The founder of Ariel Dynamic, Inc., Gideon has remained a leading expert and continues to work with governmental and scientific organizations, hospitals, and leading universities.

Birth and Death Dates:

Natanya, Israel

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New York Times, September 1-September 7, 1960