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Family is a priority for Olympic games lawyer

The Pflipsen family, left to right: Summer, Anthony, Sydney, Sara and Forrest enjoy spending time together at their home in Castle Pines after the birth of Sydney.

In her capacity as a legal representative for the U.S. Olympic Games and Pan American Games, Sara Pflipsen has traveled the world to Rio de Janeiro and PyeongChang among other Olympic game destinations.  

Since graduating from the University of Colorado Law School in 2013, Pflipsen has spent her career providing onsite legal support and guidance for the athletes as well as working in the legal division of the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) based in Colorado Springs.  Her official title is Dispute Resolution and Athlete Affairs at the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee. 

“Rio was just amazing and a great opportunity,” said Pflipsen.  “I could just go on and on about the country, the place, the games; everything about Rio is great,” she added.  Although she didn’t attend the most recent winter Olympics because she was expecting her third child, Pflipsen is back in the saddle again post-baby.  “I was pregnant, and going to China during COVID was not recommended,” she said. 

Pflipsen handles a variety of complaints that come through the USOPC and makes sure that they are heard and addressed in a fair and impartial manner.  She also deals with the anti-doping issue, athletes’ rights to compete as well as the conduct and disciplinary actions at games and in court.   

“The Rio Olympics with Ryan Lochte is an example of a swimmer who had some behavioral issues,” Pflipsen recalls.  “We stepped in to help and enforce some discipline on him and various swimmers.”  

Pflipsen began working part time for the USOPC when she was a student in law school.  She remembers commuting to Colorado Springs twice a week while finishing her last two years of courses in Boulder. 

“It’s not usually what law school students do, but it was absolutely worth it to me,” said Pflipsen. 

She attributes her strong work ethic and passion for the work she does to her parents, who she describes as great role models and always supportive.  Her mom was an Olympic kayaker.  Her dad, Steve Wozniak, is the co-founder of Apple. 

“We are a very humble family, and I don’t really like to showcase it,” shared Pflipsen.  “My mom and dad actually named my brother and me using my mom’s maiden name, ‘Clark.’  They wanted us to have our own identities.” 

Pflipsen grew up in northern California.  She attended UCLA earning a degree in English and was an All-American on the university’s dive team. 

“The only place I wanted to go was CU because I had visited Colorado a ton of times and fell in love with it,” said Pflipsen. 

Pflipsen’s father and brother both attended CU for part of their undergraduate studies.  Her dad is in the process of moving back to Colorado to be closer to Sara and her family in Castle Pines. 

“I’m proud to say we are in Castle Pines,” Pflipsen shared.  “A small knit community closer to family and friends in Denver, but then also an easier commute down to Colorado Springs.” 

Pflipsen and her husband, Anthony, have been married more than five years and have three young children: Summer (4), Forrest (2) and Sydney (3 months old).  Anthony oversees construction of wind turbines as an operations executive for a renewable energy company.  Both he and Pflipsen travel for work, but they also spend quality time together as a family. 

Sara Pflipsen at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

“We love getting away to the mountains and doing various sports with our kids, even though they’re young,” added Pflipsen.  Anthony is the coach of their oldest daughter’s soccer team at Castle Pines Athletics.  “We do soccer, gymnastics and swimming and just try to keep the kids active,” she concluded. 

By Mindy Stone Tappan; photos courtesy of Sara Pflipsen and Lindsey Gerstner Photography




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