SPORTS SCIENTIST, DOCTOR OF VETERINARY MEDICINE, DISTANCE RUNNER
Craig Sharp is hailed within the international sports science community as the founder of sports science in Great Britain. In 1971, Sharp commenced his academic work in the field as a Professor of Physical Education at the University of Birmingham, the only British institution to then offer what is now referred to as a sports science degree. In the following years, Sharp established a reputation as a respected academic who was skilled in taking sports science theory and developing useful practical applications. Sharp founded the Birmingham Human Motor Performance Laboratory in 1973, an innovative step in the advance of the study of high-performance athletes. Sharp later co-founded the British Olympic Medical Center in 1987, an institution which functions as a support facility to the British Olympic program.
Through the efforts of Sharp and others in Great Britain, sports science is now a recognized and well-regarded course of academic study, with numerous universities offering undergraduate, masters, and doctoral programs.
In his many published articles on sports science, Sharp has emphasized several recurring themes. He has long advocated the expansion of the sports science knowledge base to make knowledge more broadly available to both athletes and coaches. Sharp is a believer in the ongoing physical testing of athletes, using methods such as detailed treadmill and other physiological research as a tool to improve performance.
A noteworthy feature concerning the contribution of Sharp to the development of sports science is his remarkably diverse background and personal range of interests. Sharp was a capable distance runner as a young man, at one time holding the record for the fastest run to the peak of Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa. He was also a professional squash player. Sharp is likely the only prominent sports scientist to have begun his professional career as a doctor of veterinary medicine, a profession that he pursued with some distinction for 14 years. Sharp is also an authority on Scottish poetry.
SEE ALSO Sports medicine education.