SBJ What I Like: Angela Ruggiero


Sports Business Journal, “What I Like” Feature.

A four-time Olympic medalist for Team USA, Angela Ruggiero also graduated cum laude from Harvard, appeared on the sixth season of “The Apprentice,” and was elected to the IOC Athletes’ Commission after the Vancouver Games.


What I Like …

An insight: When work, commitment and pleasure all become one and you reach that deep well where passion lives, nothing is impossible.

An influential person in my career: My first Olympic coach, Ben Smith.

An out-of-the-box idea: Linking a team’s success to revenue generation for that city. Instead of all the revenue going back to the owners, the city would have a vested interest in the success of an individual team and would thereby become more loyal fans.

A timeless idea: Welcome differences of opinion. It means that people are thinking.

A sports facility: Fenway Park.

A sports event: The Olympics.

A hire: More women in the sports world to appropriately reflect the growing trend of the female sports consumer.

A brand: Visa.

A trend: Sport to create social change in the world (such as the NGO Right to Play, or the IOC’s many initiatives that redistribute Olympic dollars back into the community for sports programs).

An innovation: Twitter.

A pro league or team business initiative: Professional women’s sports teams in the style of a minor pro baseball team. More options for the child and female consumer.

A story that bears watching: Comcast/NBC merger.

An idea or invention I wish I had thought of: Nike’s Livestrong campaign.

A fantasy job: Al Michaels or Bob Costas — telling the story of sport to inspire the world.

What I Like About …

My job: I get to work out and take naps as part of my “job” and to be an inspiration to lots of kids.

Sports: Everything. The life lessons it teaches you, learning your individual and collective potential, working with others for a common goal, the unpredictability of it, yet the ability to control your own performance.

Sports business: Working with athletes and businesspeople to create an entertaining product that adds positive value to millions of people worldwide.

Sports technology: Replays. They should be mandatory in all sports since they can help to decide the rightful winner. Replays helped us win the 2009 world championship.

Sports fans: Their genuine interest in your success.

What I’d Like To …

See: Sponsors more fully adopting individual Olympic athletes so that they can efficiently and effectively train for the Olympics.

See more of in sports: More opportunities for boys and girls from around the world to get involved in sport. I think physical activity and sport should be a requirement as well as a human right worldwide.

See less of in sports: Parents who ruin the game for their kids.

See different: Parity of men’s and women’s sports.

Eliminate: Steroids.

What I Don’t Like …

Pet peeve: I love a good debate, but hate it when someone is so stuck on their position they are not willing to even hear the other side.

In sports: When athletes don’t give back. Unlike Charles Barkley, I think athletes have a personal responsibility to give back to fans and act as role models and to help their sport prosper.

In business: When the bottom line is the only thing considered. Intangible value and ethics should always be part of the long-term equation.


What I Like …

People: Those rare individuals that are both visionaries and implementers. Most people are usually one, but when you meet someone with both qualities, he or she is usually a natural leader.

That would surprise those who know me: I hate to waste. I smile to myself when I get through an entire tube of ChapStick.

Heroes: President Obama, Gandhi, Bono, Bill Gates, Hillary Clinton, Andre Agassi.

Players:CammiGranato, Bobby Orr, ChrisChelios.

Teams: Boston Red Sox, U.S. women’s soccer team, Detroit Red Wings.

Possession: Gold medal.

Memento: Game puck from the ’98 gold-medal game.

Time of year: The summer, because the weather is beautiful (even though I play hockey, I hate the cold) and I get the opportunity to coach little hockey players at my summer hockey schools and tournaments.

Books: “Three Cups of Tea,” by Greg Mortenson; “Pour Your Heart Into It,” by Howard Schultz.

Authors: Thomas Friedman, Malcolm Gladwell.

Sports charities: Right to Play, Women’s Sports Foundation, New York Islanders’ Project Hope, Lake Placid Sports Forum.

Gadgets: BlackBerry Bold, Flip Video camera.

Movies: “My Cousin Vinny.”

TV: “The Apprentice,” “Lost,” “The Amazing Race.”

Concerts: U2, Coldplay, Van Morrison.

Drink: Coke Zero.

Scent: Ralph Lauren’s Romance.

Car: Audi A4.

Vacation spots: Cinque Terre, Italy. This little coastal fishing village is only accessible by hiking. Great people, food and scenery.

Quote: “Be the change you wish to see in the world” — Gandhi.