Israel: the Startup Sporting Nation

New Sylvan Adams Sports Excellence Institute will aim to convert Israeli athletic potential into Olympic medals
11 December 2016

Israel may not yet be a world leader in international sports competitions, but its standing as an innovation powerhouse is undisputed. Recognizing this, Sylvan Adams of Montreal recently committed to establishing a Sports Excellence Institute at TAU. The Institute will conduct rigorous scientific research as well as sports testing and training. It will draw on the ingenuity of biomedical engineers, medical scientists and other TAU researchers to raise the overall level of Israeli sports achievement in national and international competitions.


The Institute is the brainchild of Adams, a TAU Governor, second-generation donor and himself an amateur cycling champion and World, Canadian and Maccabiah gold medalist. His motivation is simple: to enhance Israel’s international image through sport. “I want to promote Israel as a startup sporting nation,” he says. “Israel is in the news every day, largely in a negative context. I want to change this channel by promoting normal activities that get publicity…Sport is a great tool for advancing what I term ‘normal Israel.’”



The Institute will widen the scope of sports medicine by conducting extensive research on high performance sports.


TAU President Joseph Klafter says: “We’re very excited about the opportunities being ushered in by the new institute. Leveraging TAU’s broad ties with hospitals and national sports associations, Institute researchers will formulate new and improved testing and training methodologies that will ultimately raise Israeli athletic standards.


“We admire and appreciate Sylvan’s long range vision for Tel Aviv University, for the field of exercise science, and for the State of Israel,” says Prof. Klafter. “We’re grateful for his friendship and support.”


The Institute will be led by TAU’s Prof. Mickey Scheinowitz, an exercise physiologist and Chair of TAU Department of Biomedical Engineering.


To be established over several years, the Institute’s permanent home will be a 2,000+ square meter building featuring state-of-the-art research labs and a range of testing and training facilities for cycling, swimming, running, and triathlon. It is expected to become a vital national resource, partnering with the Israel Olympic Committee, the IDF Combat Fitness Center, and a range of other national sports associations that have already expressed a willingness to cooperate with the Institute.


The Institute will harness TAU’s world-class academic, clinical and sports expertise, its close ties with 14 affiliated hospitals and its sports facilities to instill new standards of performance excellence among Israeli athletes. 


Pictured on left: Sylvan Adams



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