Ruggiero's two different worlds

May 10, 2011, 12:59 p.m. (ET)

Even by the standards of Angela Ruggiero's already remarkable life, she had an amazing winter. Well, and early spring. 

Here was Angela as International Olympic Committee member, wining and dining and flying all over the world as part of the select IOC commission evaluating the three cities in the 2018 Winter Games race -- Pyeongchang, South Korea; Munich, Germany; and Annecy, France. Glamorous? Sure. But hard work -- the commission prepared a lengthy report that was issued Tuesday rating all three. And hard on the body -- the last photo op in France took place on a Saturday night and the commission had to be peppy and hard at work in Korea early on a Wednesday morning.

Here, too, was Angela as world-class hockey player, now in late April in Zurich, capping her tenth world championships with a gold medal, a 3-2 overtime victory over Canada, Hillary Knight scoring the winner 7:48 into overtime. 

"I feel so lucky to be a part of it," Angela said, meaning both worlds, adding, "They're completely different worlds, for sure. One day, I'm talking to the president or prime minister of France or Korea or Germany. 

"The next day I'm in the gym, lifting weights or on the treadmill, talking to my college-age teammates about their exams coming up.

"They're just completely different worlds."

The IOC evaluation commission traditionally reserves a spot for an athlete's point of view. But it's not clear that any serving athlete has been as ever been as simultaneously engaged in both commission and athletic career as Angela Ruggiero.

As ever, Angela is something of a pioneer.

For instance, the great Russian swimmer Alex Popov served on the 2016 Summer Games commission -- but he was no longer racing competitively when the commission made its rounds in 2009. 

Similarly, Canadian cross-country skiing great Beckie Scott served on the 2014 Winter Games commission that did its work in 2007. She had retired from competitive skiing the year before.

One more example: Frankie Fredericks, the track and field star from the African nation of Namibia, served on the 2012 Summer Games commission, which performed its duties in early 2005. He had retired from competition at the end of the 2004 outdoor season.

Angela became an IOC member last year, at the Vancouver Games, elected as an athlete amid a career that has seen her win four Olympic medals (one gold, two silver and one bronze) -- so far. She's only 31. Noting that the Detroit Red Wings' 40-year-old Nick Lidstrom was just nominated for the NHL's Norris Trophy, the league's best defenseman award, which he has already won six times, she said, "In hockey years, I'm not that old."

Among other accomplishments, Angela also, and this makes for just a few highlights:

-- Was among those  honored by carrying the World Trade Center flag into the opening ceremony at the Salt Lake City Games (2002); 

-- Earned a Harvard degree (2004);

-- Played in a men's professional hockey game (2005, for the Tulsa Oilers of the Central Hockey League); 

-- And, of course, hung tough through several rounds of "The Apprentice" (2007).

That world championship gold marked the Americans team's fourth world title in the last five events.

Oh -- just before the hockey season got underway, Angela moved. She packed up last fall, from Los Angeles and settled back into Cambridge, Mass.

For most people, moving cross-country would be enough. 

For Angela -- that was just the start of that zany ride through winter, and into spring. With more yet to come. The full IOC meets next week in Lausanne, Switzerland, to review the report that was issued Tuesday. In July, in Durban, South Africa, the IOC will elect the 2018 city.

There were times this winter, Angela said, when it all seemed like a blur. But at the same time -- great fun.

"I remember going to the gym -- and there are no windows in my gym -- and it was 8 in the morning. But it was 8 in the evening in Korea," which was still the time her body was on. "My training," she laughed, "was still a little bit off."

She said, "I was asked by the IOC president to be on this very important commission. For me, it was the chance of a lifetime. It was -- it was an unbelievable experience."