For the past seven-and-a-half years, Mickey Bar Joshua has juggled an unlikely pair of occupations-VLSI design engineer and sprinter. His double obsession finally paid off this year, when he won the 200 meter event at the Israeli Open Track and Field Championship in Jerusalem this month with a time of 21.28 seconds.
Logic design developer in the IBM Haifa Development Lab by day and international athlete by night, Bar Joshua sees no problem in combining the two very demanding fields.
"Actually, when I train after work, I find that it relaxes me and helps me focus," said Bar Joshua, who in high training season often works out for three hours a day, combining distance running, sprints, and weights.
Referred to by the Israeli daily Maariv as "a rare phenomenon of nature," the 33-year-old Bar Joshua only began his track and field career seriously after graduating from the Technion - Israel Institute of Technology with a B.Sc. in electrical engineering. One of his crowning achievements was participating in the Sydney Olympics in 2000 as a member of Israel's 4x100 relay team.
Although many of his competitors are 5-10 years younger than him, Bar Joshua claims his age is not a hindrance at all.
"I think my age has no adverse affect whatsoever," he said. "In fact it probably helps me. Athletes who start very young often burn out or run into problems because they find it hard to discipline themselves, but I have no problem with this. My success is really a combination of ability and attitude. As I get older, I get more in tune with my body, and I know when to take it easy so I don't get injured."
Bar Joshua's day job demands a pretty large effort as well. At present, he is working on developing logic designs for the Haifa Labs' contribution to a PowerPC-based game processor. Previously, he has put in long hours on development projects such as the InfiniBand chipset and the 10Gbit ethernet TCP/IP off-load engine.
Despite his impressive achievements, Bar Joshua says he has no intention of standing still.
"I plan to stay involved in track and field as long as I can," he said. "It's still really fun, and I love the adrenalin rush I get from it."
And what about his other job? Bar Joshua has similar plans for his IBM career as well.
"I love what I'm doing now," he said. "I just hope I can keep doing it in the future."