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Ruter wins Giegengack Award


Jill Geer
Chief Public Affairs Officer
USA Track & Field
(508) 520-1529

MOBILE, Alabama - Longtime official, meet director, international team staff member and former vice president of USA Track & Field (USATF), Charlie Ruter, has been named the 18th winner of the Robert Giegengack Award. Ruter received the award Friday evening at the Jesse Owens Awards Dinner and Xerox Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, held in conjunction with USATF’s 2001 Annual Meeting.

The award is presented annually to an individual “who excels in contributing to the excellence and high standards of the sport.” The Giegengack is USATF’s only accolade for contributions not limited to one of the sport’s three disciplines – track and field, long distance running and race walking – or to any one of the three areas of consideration – official, coach, administrator. The award was established in 1982 and named after the former Yale University track and field coach’s half-century of “superior and outstanding contributions as an Official, as a Coach, as an Administrator to the sport and to the Organization.”

During his many years of involvement in track and field, Ruter placed his thumbprint on nearly every aspect of the sport, especially in the area of meet officiating. When he began directing meets in the late 1940’s and early 50’s, Ruter was frustrated that he had to rely on fans or inexperienced volunteers to officiate his track meets. When he took over the national certification of officials in 1976, there were 67 registered officials. There are now more than 8,300.

A highly acclaimed official in his own right, Ruter was selected as the head field referee at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, and he officiated at every U.S. Olympic Trials from 1972 through 1996. He also served as the chief umpire at the 1987 World Indoor Championships and Pan American Games.

Ruter served on many U.S. international team staffs, including as the head manager of the first U.S. track team to compete in Red China. His service to the sport also included stints on USATF’s Board of Directors, and a term as the organization’s vice-president.

Ruter got his start in track and field as a hurdler and 440-yard runner in New Albany, Indiana. He played basketball at Western Kentucky University for three years before enlisting in the U.S. Navy in 1943. He returned to Kentucky in 1948 to finish his degree and went on to earn a masters degree and teach English at Fern Creek High School.

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