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Baaron Pittenger, Former USOC Executive Director, Has Died

By Chrös McDougall | Jan. 24, 2021, 1:37 p.m. (ET)

Baaron Pittenger stands outside the Olympic House in Dec. 1984.


Baaron Pittenger, a former United States Olympic Committee official who played an influential role during the organization’s move to Colorado Springs, Colorado, and later rose to become executive director, died on Jan. 15. He was 95.

Born in Kansas City, Missouri, Pittenger worked as a reporter in Pennsylvania and Connecticut before getting jobs in the athletic departments at Brown University and then Harvard University. It was from there that he was hired by the USOC, which is now the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee.

Among Pittenger’s first tasks was assisting in the organization’s move from New York City to Colorado Springs, going from Park Avenue to the abandoned Ent Air Force Base, which is now the United States Olympic & Paralympic Training Center.

In more than a decade with the USOC, Pittenger played key roles during a crucial time.

In 1978 he organized the inaugural National Sport Festival, which later expanded into the United States Olympic Festival, an influential Olympic-like event held in non-Olympic years. It continued until 1995.

Pittenger was promoted to assistant executive director in 1981, helping lead the organization during the landmark 1984 Summer Games in Los Angeles. He later served as executive director in two stints, briefly in 1987 and then again from 1988 to 1990.

Pittenger later worked at USA Hockey and the the USOC’s anti-doping agency before retiring in 2000.

In a statement, USOPC CEO Sarah Hirshland shared her condolences.

“On behalf of the USOPC, the grateful community here in Colorado Springs, and all the Olympians and Paralympians who have benefited from his vision for the US Olympic and Paralympic Training Center, I send my sincere condolences to the family and friends of Baaron Pittenger,” she said.

“I met Baaron at my very first Assembly as we celebrated the 40th anniversary of the training centre and honored his steady hand in making it a reality. His legacy endures there, as it does in our aspiration to serve the athletes of Team USA and forward the important mission of the USOPC.”

Chrös McDougall

Chrös McDougall has covered the Olympic Movement for TeamUSA.org since 2009 on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc. He is based in Minneapolis-St. Paul.