Eduard Tiozzo, or just Eddie, as his friends call him, is a life-long athlete and an expert in physiology and sports science.
He earned his undergraduate and masters degrees in Sports Science in Zagreb, Croatia before moving to Miami, USA to obtain his doctorate.
We spoke with Eddie about his formative years in Dubrovnik, how he got into sports in the first place, about his extensive schooling, his views on the culture he was immersed in in the Old World vs. that which he experiences now living in Miami, as well as about various aspects of, if I might add, quite interesting work that he dedicates his time to these days. . .
Note: To you fans of computer science and UFOs, the acronym CP does not stand for Component Pascal and this ET is very much a terrestrial.
ET: I was born and raised in Dubrovnik. Looking back at my childhood now, I appreciate it even more than I probably did as a kid. I find our upbringing in the 70s and 80s much simpler then these days. Nowadays everything revolves around technology and kids being glued to their computers and cell phones with often times limited social interaction. I wouldn’t trade our outdoor games, bus tags across the city, sneaking into people’s backyards to pick up fruits (and yes sometimes even throwing water balloons at bystanders), summer days at beach “Dance”, evening walks at “Stradun” for anything. I look at those times very fondly at this age and consider myself lucky and privileged to have had that kind of childhood.
ET: Dubrovnik is, as we all know, the water polo mecca. My brother, who is two years older, started playing it and soon after, at the age of 12, I followed in his steps.
You can call me a sport addict. . . I enjoy every single workout, but above all a social aspect of belonging to a team.
CP: And you remained in the world of sports ever since . . .
ET: True, I have been involved in sports ever since, either as an athlete or a coach….and now as a lecturer and researcher. I guess you can call me a sport addict. I am still active in a pool as a member of the Swim Fort Lauderdale Masters team. We have more than 100 swimmers, literally from the age of 18 to 88.
I enjoy every single workout, but above all a social aspect of belonging to a team. One of my favorite things is to drive to Fort Lauderdale on Saturday morning that includes swim and then food with my team mates. At breakfast you could be sharing a table and cracking jokes with a 70 year old woman. It has always fascinated me how amazingly well such a diverse group of people like us has connected through sports. I consider my Saturday morning ritual the best therapy from sometimes very busy week days.
One of my favorite things is to drive to Fort Lauderdale on Saturday morning that includes swim and then food with my team mates.
ET: After finishing high school in Dubrovnik, I moved to Zagreb to first pursue bachelor’s and then master’s degree in Sports Science. I am a city person and regardless of, often times, gloomy and cold winter days and no access to the Adriatic, I enjoyed living in Zagreb. Zagreb lives year long, which may not the case with the coastal cities, including Dubrovnik, where you go from super busy summer months to “nothing is happening” winter months. As far as Miami, I consider it my home now. In Miami, like in every other city, you may find things that you like less or even dislike. I chose to ignore those aspects and instead focus only on the good things that the city has to offer; multi ethnicity (I have never felt like a stranger in this city), being outdoors and wearing t-shirts all year long, access to the ocean and just in general friendly and laid-back atmosphere.
ET: Before moving to the States, I felt like I didn’t have a future for myself in Zagreb, not in my profession and at least not the kind of future that I wanted for myself. I knew if I wanted to be more “marketable” that I had to acquire more skills and continue with my education. Therefore, I applied for several doctoral programs all over the world. I was lucky to receive positive answers from Beijing (China) and Miami.
I really can’t say why Miami and not China. Miami simply felt like the right choice at that time. I still remember the day (January 6th, 2006), when I left Zagreb. When I boarded that plane I had no expectations and no intentions to impose any on myself. All I knew was that I was open to that new chapter of my life and I tried my best to fully embrace it. The years of a doctoral program were extremely challenging and little that I knew, I was committed to five long, grueling and hard years on a very low budget. At the end not only that I gained a diploma but also some valuable life lessons. Looking back now I really pad myself on the back for staying on the path and enduring that journey.
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Did you know . . .
As a member of Swim Fort Lauderdale (SFTL), Eddie has made the US Masters Top Ten Swimming List a number of times:
ET: am currently involved in several projects. At the University of Miami Medical School I work as research associate. My job entails clinical research trials and examining the effect of healthy lifestyle choices (i.e. physical activity, healthy eating, natural supplements, smoking cessation etc.) on the various medical chronic conditions such as cancer, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, HIV etc.
Last year, together with several colleagues of mine, I was awarded a $250K grant from AstraZeneca HealthCare foundation to develop a community initiative for underprivileged individuals with HIV. The project includes healthy eating and exercise, services that this patient population normally doesn’t have access to. The whole process of applying for funds and now conducting the project has entailed a few years of leg work. However, it all makes it worthwhile and rewarding now after seeing the smiles on those patients and witnessing the improvements in their quality of lives.
Give me a plane ticket to any destination and I am as happy as I can be…..and now I even get paid to travel :)
At two local universities (Barry and Keiser) I also teach exercise physiology and nutrition courses to undergraduate and graduate students.
Perhaps the part of my work that I enjoy doing the most is lecturing weekend workshops for the National Council on Strength and Fitness. For this line of work I usually travel once a month and all over the country, from Los Angeles, Denver, and Chicago to New York.
Often times I combine business and few days of pleasure and sightseeing. Give me a plane ticket to any destination and I am as happy as I can be…..and now I even get paid to travel. :)
CP: What's in store for you in near future?
ET: I’m currently “busy” finding a balance between work and time off. Sometimes, when you get an abundance of opportunities coming your way, it may get easy to find yourself overly busy. I am grateful for each and every one of those opportunities, but at the same time the older I get the more I cherish my weekends and those “little things”. Like a lazy Sunday morning with coffee and New York Times, or a good book.