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Athletes’ personal data to be used as part of coaching

A joint pilot project between the Finnish Olympic Committee, Polar and Tieto is testing the use of elite athletes’ personal data in coaching. The project fires the starting pistol for the development of a Finnish elite sports information system and one of Sitra’s fair data economy pilots.


Kirsi Suomalainen

Specialist, Communications and Public Affairs


Nowadays, a lot of personal data is collected from athletes as part of increasingly detailed coaching regimes. Currently, there is no comprehensive method for Finnish athletes to collect all the diverse data on the effects on performance and to share it securely with their coaches and other support staff. The data exists in dozens of separate information systems that are difficult to use together.

A joint project involving the Finnish Olympic Committee, Polar and Tieto addresses this challenge by creating a trial solution for the collection, management and distribution of elite athletes’ personal data. The project paves the way for the more extensive development of an information system for elite sports, which aims to enhance the competitive advantage of Finnish elite athletes with the help of data. The pilot project involves 10 athlete/coach pairs.

Besides producing a solution for elite athletes and their coaches, the pilot project will help Finnish sports science to become more data-driven while allowing the national governing bodies of elite sports to better understand their athletes.

The co-operation project is one of Sitra’s fair data economy IHAN pilots, which are helping to create a new kind of data economy in Europe where services can take advantage of an individual’s personal data with their permission. The Finnish Olympic Committee became involved in the IHAN project through a public application process.

“The Olympic Committee’s project is exactly what the data economy will be in the future. It builds an innovative service from siloed information sources while ensuring that individual athletes remain in control of their personal data throughout the life cycle of the service,” says Markus Kalliola, Leading Specialist at Sitra.

The pilot project involving the Finnish Olympic Committee, Polar and Tieto was launched in spring 2019 and will continue until summer 2020.

Read more from Tieto.

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