By Tom Degun

BMW swimming__1April 25 - BMW, the Official Mobility Partner of the United States (US) Olympic Committee (USOC), is working with USA Swimming to help improve the performance of its top athletes ahead of London 2012 by providing state-of-the-art motion-tracking technology.

The ground-breaking technology, utilised by athletes such as Olympic and world champion Ricky Berens (pictured top and below), provides quantitative analysis of a swimmer's starts and turns via motion tracking.

It also represents a fascinating combination of sports science with insights from automotive engineering, such as research into camera-based pedestrian detection and tracking.

The technology will ultimately provide a complete performance-data analysis for coaches and is a significant improvement over the current system of manual stroke counting and video study.

With the new technology, BMW intends to apply quantitative analysis techniques to evaluate how major and minor adjustments in form and technique affect overall performance.

"The Olympic Movement and BMW share a common focus on performance and sustained competitive excellence," said Dan Creed, vice-president of marketing for BMW of North America.

"Through this sponsorship we are able to connect with customers throughout the country and extend the Olympic partnership through unique customer programmes that drive brand affinity and sales."

BMW initially worked with USA Track and Field in developing a velocity measurement which measures and provides real-time analysis of three key parameters in the execution of a long jump by looking at horizontal approach velocity, vertical take-off velocity and take-off angle.

BMW swimming_2
"Developing a first-of-its-kind training technology for Olympic athletes is very exciting for BMW," said Dirk Rossberg, head of the BMW Group Technology Office in the US.

"We're eager to build upon what we learned from USA Track and Field, and are focused on delivering performance data for USA Swimming to help improve starts and turns – those pivotal moments in a race where Olympic medals are lost and won."

In addition to these efforts in North America, BMW will be providing a fleet of 4,000 low-emission vehicles during the Olympics and Paralympics in its role as the Official Automotive Partner of London 2012.

During London 2012, BMW Group will also present a pavilion space built on an elevated site above the Waterworks River, situated between the Olympic Stadium and the Aquatics Centre on the Olympic Park in Stratford.

The BMW pavilion has been designed to reflect the company's heritage in environmental innovation, and includes the use of river water as a sustainable cooling source for the building whereby the water is filtered and returned to the river via a special water curtain.

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

Related stories
April 2012: Top US Olympic hopes to benefit from completed BMW Olympic technology project