Athlete Ombudsman

John Ruger was appointed as the athlete ombudsman to the United States Olympic Committee in March 1999. As such, his responsibilities include providing independent advice to athletes on all issues relating to their rights to compete, facilitating communications and assisting in mediation of disputes between athletes and Olympic family organizations, and assisting in the development and implementation of policies to secure and support the rights of elite athletes.

Ruger previously worked for the USOC as manager of the southeastern operations for the Hometown ’96 program. In the one-year Atlanta-based assignment, Ruger helped develop and implement the USOC’s $4.25 million grant program to maximize the U.S. team’s home-field advantage at the 1996 Olympic Games.

Throughout his career, Ruger has also served as president of his own sports marketing and management company in Boulder, Colo.; vice president of operations for the Colorado Sports Council; and a member of the local organizing committee for the 1995 U.S. Olympic Festival.

Competitively, Ruger was a member of the 1980 U.S. Olympic Team in biathlon. He competed on three world championship teams and coached the U.S. biathlon team from 1987-89.

Ruger has a bachelor’s degree in economics from Rutgers University. He and his wife, Rita, have two daughters and currently reside in Boulder.