Meet Professor Equalizer

Steve Haake, director of the Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre at Sheffield Hallam University, is a professor known for his expertise in sports engineering and research. In our upcoming documentary, he’s also known as “Professor Equalizer” so to speak.

The Equalizer is a one-hour Canadian/German co-production that investigates the evolution of technology in sport. The documentary seeks answers to questions such as, what if the greatest high-performance athletes – present and past – could compete against each other on a level playing field? If competitive conditions were equalized, would today’s stars come out on top, or would they be beaten by heroes of the past?

Steve Haake profile picture

Steve Haake travels to Canada, the U.S. and Germany to meet the five world-class athletes who will compete against former greats in The Equalizer.

Haake meets Canadian sprinter and Olympic hopeful Andre De Grasse; U.S. Olympic silver medalist and seven-time world champion track cyclist Sarah Hammer; German world champion freestyle swimmer Paul Biedermann; German javelin thrower Christina Obergföll; and Canadian kayaker and four-time Olympic medalist Adam van Koeverden.

Haake is “Professor Equalizer” because it is he who examines all the variables in the five sports – past and present – and creates a level playing field for the athletes to go “back in time” and compete. As you might imagine, the athletes are up for the challenge and each matchup has a surprising result.

BROADCAST PREMIERE: Watch The Equalizer on CBC’s The Nature of Things, Thursday, March 3 at 8 p.m. ET.


Steve’s Bio
Professor Steve Haake is Director of the Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre at Sheffield Hallam University having previously been Director of the Centre for Sports Engineering Research which he founded in 1995. Originally gaining a 1st in Physics at Leeds University, Steve lectured for fifteen years in Mechanical Engineering and founded the International Sports Engineering Association, the journal Sports Engineering and the International Conference on the Engineering of Sport (of which the first two were held in Sheffield).

He has worked on the physics and engineering for sport for 30 years and has edited 9 books, given dozens of keynotes and contributed to around 180 journal and conference papers. He is a member of the Technical Commission of the International Tennis Federation advising on the effect of equipment design on the rule of tennis, and has been a consultant to Adidas and Callaway Golf. Steve was awarded an EPSRC Senior Media Fellowship in 2010 and is now is an EPSRC RISE Leader, recognised as one of the UK’s top-10 inspirational scientists and engineers. He has worked on Guy Martin’s Speed (for Channel 4), BBC TV and Radio news and created online films for the Royal Institution.