USA Luge appoints Scott Riewald as its CEO

Scott Riewald (Provided photo)

LAKE PLACID — Scott Riewald has been named the new chief executive officer for USA Luge, replacing Jim Leahy.

Leahy, who took over the position in 2013, announced his decision to retire earlier this year. Riewald, who previously lived in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and most recently Fort Myers, Florida, was officially announced as CEO on Monday.

Leahy said the organization went through well over 30 candidates before eventually narrowing the choices down to two candidates after various Zoom calls.

“Those (two) candidates, each one of them spent a day here in Lake Placid meeting with our athletes and staff, checking out the venues and our facilities here,” he said on June 11. “At a board meeting we had, that included staff and athlete feedback, the decision was made to go with Scott.”

Riewald brings a wealth of experience in the field of high-performance sport having worked with both with the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee and professional sport organizations, including with Major League Baseball’s Boston Red Sox, where he served as the manager for minor league performance development.

In his most recent role with the Boston Red Sox, he leveraged science, technology and analytics to achieve high performance in the sport while also managing a multi-disciplinary performance team of sport science and medical professionals at the organization’s spring training facility in Fort Myers.

Riewald spent time with USA Luge in his 15 years with the USOPC. He attended luge World Cups and worked very closely with Mark Grimmette, the sports program director for USA Luge, according to Leahy.

While working with USA Luge, Riewald said he became fond of the people within the organization, which played a role in his decision to apply for the job.

“From the athletes and staff to the organizations that they — or I guess the stakeholders — that they work with, there’s always a desire to be around good people and people that work hard,” Riewald said on June 11. “I love the Lake Placid community. I haven’t lived there yet, but I’ve been there a number of times and I’m really looking forward to being part of the fabric of that community. I just think that there is so much potential and opportunity for luge with great athletes. They’re so close and there’s so much potential for the organization and that is really what excites me most.”

Riewald will take over the organization less than two years from the 2026 Olympic Winter Games in Milan-Cortina, Italy and potentially 10 years away from the first North American hosted Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City, Utah since 2002.

During Leahy’s tenure, he navigated three Olympic Games, hosted multiple World Cup competitions in the U.S. in partnership with the state Olympic Regional Development Authority and the Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation, worked in collaboration with the USOPC and oversaw the construction and renovation of the USA Luge headquarters and start facility in Lake Placid.

“When I joined this organization almost 11 years ago, I did not know much about winter sports, let alone anything about luge,” Leahy said. “That first several months, I was taking water from a fire hose. Scott’s going to be able to, from day one, hit the road running. For this organization, I couldn’t pass on the baton to a better candidate.”

Riewald hopes to bring his wealth of experience in technology and understanding of high performance sciences to USA Luge. He believes that by leveraging data, it will open the door to new ideas and potentially just continue on the path that USA Luge is already on in their technology initiative.

“I probably need to get my feet wet a little bit more than I have right now to fully understand the extent to which USA Luge leverages data. There’s so many adjustments that influence the performance of a sled or the performance of the athlete on the track,” he said. “But if we’re not tracking those things we’re really missing an opportunity to learn.”

Having worked with the USOPC, Riewald hopes to collaborate with other national governing bodies that he has seen struggle with similar issues.

“They’re gathering information and keeping that information to themselves — for the most part,” he said. “But the opportunity to share, collaborate and learn from other sports, I think all data collected is better than any one individual sport and I’d really like to see some of those collaborations as well.”

Riewald grew up in Delaware and the southeastern Pennsylvania area and later attended Boston University, where he competed for the school’s swim team. He is a member of the Boston University Athletic Hall of Fame and was named the 1992 Student Athlete of the Year.

He received a bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering from the Boston University College of Engineering and later earned a Ph.D. and a master’s degree in biomedical engineering from the Northwestern University McCormick School of Engineering.

Over his career, he has worked in a variety of roles for the USOPC, the United States Tennis Association and United States Swimming. Riewald developed and implemented an organizational strategy encompassing technology data analytics by building integrations to impact athlete health, wellness and performance and oversaw a multi-million-dollar technology program to support performance impacting technology and research initiatives with the USOPC.

Riewald will officially take over the position Thursday, June 13 after moving to Lake Placid from Florida. Leahy, who is set to retire on June 30, said it was important for USA Luge to have someone move to Lake Placid.

“I’ve really enjoyed my time here in almost 11 years, getting to know a lot of the people here while living here,” Leahy said. “I think that’s really important for this position.”

With Leahy and Riewald, holding the title of USA Luge’s CEO for the next few days, Leahy said he’ll help assist Riewald in his transition.

“Or (I’ll have him) help me clean out my office,” he joked.

Leahy said he told the United States Luge Association board that he’d be willing to move into more of a volunteer role during that time period.

“Over the next two weeks sort of giving him some really quick updates with what is going with the USOPC,” he said. “He has been gone for a little over two years and giving him an update where we are with construction in Cortina and giving him and update on where we are for potential World Cups for not only next season, but for the 2025-26 season. It’s sort of an update, so I’ll feel when I leave here that he’s fully up to date with both track operators and the international track federation.”

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