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Sprinting toward innovation at ASU

ASU graduate Jamol James earned a bronze medal in the 2012 Olympics in London.
James ran for Trinidad and Tobago and was part of the 4x100 relay team.
August 4, 2016

Olympic medalist Jamol James has recently graduated magna cum laude and designed a new, customizable track shoe

In his time at Arizona State University, Olympic medalist Jamol James has graduated magna cum laude and designed an innovative track shoe with a spike pin that can be customized for any athlete.

It’s all part of a multifaceted approach that flourished at the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, where James learned “to have an open mind about learning, since the ideas to address many real-world problems don't come from the tools themselves but your attitude, which affects your perception, which affects your capacity for knowledge retention, which further affects the outcome reality.”

 

James, a sprinter from Trinidad and Tobago, came to the U.S. as a student-athlete four years ago. His freshman year, he made his home nation's 2012 Olympic team and was a reserve on the 4x100 relay team that took bronze in London. He later transferred from the University of Tennessee to ASU as a junior and raced to multiple first-place finishes as a Sun Devil. In May, at the age of 23, he graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies in what is now called the College of Integrative Sciences and Arts, James concentrated on design studies and digital culture, both of which are within the Herberger Institute.

Fittingly, James’ capstone project focused on track and field. He looked at shoes for track and came up with a way of designing a spike pin that can be customized “for everybody,” depending on their needs and the surface on which they’re running. He went to an orthopedic specialist, who pointed him in the direction of a company that manufactures pressure-sensor socks “that can sense where the different pressures in your feet are most dominant.” That way, the user can determine where the spike should go.

The shoe is now in the process of being manufactured, James said.

“The company I am working with, called Gear Up, is working on making it available to the public this coming January," he said. "So be on the lookout!”

In addition to being a designer, inventor and track star, James is also a music engineer and producer in his spare time.

James hopes to earn a professional track-and-field contract “sometime in the future. It's difficult when you are not able to get a contract as a means to support your training and continued development, so therefore it is on me to work and compete.”

He’s no stranger to putting his focus into multiple areas at once.

“Just know that even if I say I’m going to go do architecture after this, I don’t mean I’m going to just do architecture,” he said. “I’m going to be probably designing chairs, you know? Because I don’t want to just be seen as just a one-direction person.”

And because if there’s a better way to approach or design something, James is interested.

His website is j-sprint.com.

 
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Fork 'em over in Rio

Meet the 27 Sun Devils are headed to the Summer Olympics in Rio.
August 4, 2016

Four current Arizona State students are among 27 Sun Devils headed to Olympics

Editor's note: This story is being highlighted in ASU Now's year in review. To read more top stories from 2016, click here.

As the 2016 Summer Olympics kick off in Rio de Janeiro on Friday night, Arizona State University will be well represented.

There are 27 Sun Devils going to Rio, representing 15 countries in nine sports. That’s the most since 1996, when there were 30 athletes and coaches with ASU ties.

Four of the Rio-bound Sun Devils are current students:

  • Richard Bohus, a swimmer, will be a senior in digital culture in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts.
  • Izabella Chiappini, a water polo player, will be a senior in design at the Herberger Institute.
  • Anna Olasz, a swimmer, will be a senior in business communications the W. P. Carey School of Business.
  • Katarina Simonovic, a swimmer, will be a senior in the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Olasz, representing Hungary, didn’t find out she was going to the Olympics until July 25, when a Russian swimmer was disqualified from competing and Olasz was awarded the spot just three weeks before the open-swim event.

 

Two of the Rio-bound Sun Devils are current coaches. Bob Bowman, the ASU head swimming coach, is the U.S. men’s swimming coach and also the personal coach of Michael Phelps, who is competing in his fifth Olympics after training at ASU the past year. Cliff English is the coach of the new women’s triathlon team, which he will leave for a few days to be the personal coach for two Olympic triathletes in Rio.

Also, Keenan Robinson will be the head trainer for the U.S. swim team. At ASU, he is the head of high-performance services for aquatic sports.

There are 20 former ASU student-athletes competing, including five women’s golfers.

Here’s the rundown:

Name Country represented Sport (*athlete was at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London) About the athlete
Vivianne Bahia Brazil Women’s water polo ASU water polo, 2014-2015
Chris Benard USA Track and field triple jump ASU track and field, 2010- 2012
Mickey Benedetti Italy Diving 3-meter springboard * ASU diving, 2006-2009
Constantin Blaha Austria Diving 3-meter springboard ASU diving, 2009-2012, and 2012 ASU graduate
Richard Bohus Hungary Swimming 100m free * Current student, will be a senior in digital culture with a concentration in art at the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts; ASU swimming past 3 seasons
Bob Bowman USA Men’s swimming head coach Current ASU head swimming coach
Izabella Chiappini Brazil Women’s water polo Current student, will be a senior in design at the Herberger Institute, ASU water polo, 2013-2014, 2014-2015
Carolota Ciganda Spain Women’s golf ASU Women’s golf, 2009, 2010
Amy Cragg Hastings USA Women’s marathon ASU cross country, 2002-2005
Ike Diogu Nigeria Men’s basketball * ASU men’s basketball, 2003, 2004
Marcus Duncan Trinidad and Tobago Track and field 4x100 relay ASU track and field, 2008
Cliff English Costa Rica/Australia Individual coach for 2 triathletes Current head coach for ASU women’s triathlon
Ariana Hilborn Latvia Women’s marathon 2003 ASU graduate
Shelby Houlihan USA Track and field 5000m ASU track and field, 2012-2015, and 2015 ASU graduate
Desiree Davila Linden USA Women’s marathon * ASU cross country and track and field, 2001-2004, and 2006 ASU graduate
Giulia Molinaro Italy Women’s golf ASU women’s golf, 2007-2012, and 2012 ASU graduate
Azahara Munoz Spain Women’s golf ASU women’s golf 2005-2009, and 2009 ASU graduate
Miriam Nagl Brazil Women’s golf ASU women’s golf, 2000
Christabel Nettey Canada Track and field long jump ASU long jump, 2010-2013
Gal Nevo Israel Men’s swimming 200m IM * ASU men’s swimming, 2005-2007
Anna Nordqvist Sweden Women’s golf ASU women’s golf, 2006-2008
Anna Olasz Hungary Open-water swimming Current student, will be a senior in the W. P. Carey School of Business, ASU swimming the past 3 seasons
Keenan Robinson USA Head trainer for swimming
Donald Sanford Israel Track and field 400m * ASU track and field, 2010
Katarina Simonovic Serbia Women’s swimming 200m freestyle Current student, will be a senior in the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, ASU swimming the past 3 seasons
Jay Shi USA Men’s shooting 50m pistol 2004 ASU graduate
Rowie Webster Australia Women’s water polo * ASU water polo, 2006