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Technology helps UNC Asheville graduate train

A UNC Asheville athlete is using new technology and a former UNCA professor to improve the most important aspect of his game.

Hurdler Milan Ristic represented Team Serbia in the Rio Olympics this past year and is training for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.

He says the most important part of the race is the start.

"Every step has to be perfect in order to get that hurdle," Ristic said. "If there is one misstep, the whole thing is going down the hill and the whole race is lost. We were just trying to nail that perfect first step."

Former UNCA professor Brad Deweese is helping Ristic make sure he gets that perfect first step. Deweese trains Olympic athletes at a training facility at East Tennessee State University and here in Asheville.

"Most of my work goes to the Olympic training site we opened on campus. We serve Team USA in bobsled, skeleton, canoe and kayak, weightlifting and individual athletes from luge to track and field," Deweese said.

Deweese uses his special, high-tech equipment to measure every piece of data possible to help athletes optimize performance.

"We were able to measure his block start and his approach to the first two hurdles," Deweese said of Ristic. "We can take information from other Olympians and compare it to Milan."

Deweese says they use this information to see what Ristic can change in practice.

Milan is working with Deweese to prepare for the upcoming European Championships.

"Right now, I'm getting ready for the European Championships, which my hometown is hosting in March this year," Ristic said. "I hope to medal there in front of the home crowd. It will be tough but I won't give up."

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