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Steven Ungerleider

IN MEMORIAM: Steven Ungerleider

Steven Ungerleider, long-time AASP member, AASP Fellow, and one of the first group of professionals to be AASP certified has died. He was 73. Ungerleider passed away March 18 in Healdsburg, California, after an eight-month battle with pancreatic cancer.

He dedicated his life to understanding the psychological factors that influence athletic performance and was widely recognized for his pioneering work in the area of anti-doping and combatting the use of performance-enhancing drugs in sport, the importance of fair play and fighting for justice for athletes.

Born in 1949 in New Jersey, Ungerleider was a multifaceted individual who made significant contributions to both the fields of sport psychology and film production through his philanthropic endeavors at the Foundation for Global Sports Development.

He authored several books, including Mental Training for Peak Performance, which focused on mind exercises used by top athletes to excel in sport, and Quest for Success, which explored success achieved by numerous Olympians in sport and in life after athletics.

Ungerleider produced HBO’s At the Heart of Gold: Inside the USA Gymnastics Scandal (2019), the Erin Lee Carr-directed film that focused on the sexual-abuse victims of convicted USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar.

He produced and directed the 2020 PBS documentary short Positive All the Way, an inspiring story about the Paralympic movement and its founder, Philip Craven, and produced the 2021 CNN Films doc Citizen Ashe, about the tennis legend and activist.

Ungerleider received his PhD in Counseling Psychology from the University of Oregon. He served on the Education and Ethics Committee of the World Anti-Doping Agency and the National Advisory Panel of the American Psychological Association. In 2009, Ungerleider co-founded the Texas Program in Sports and Media at his alma mater, the University of Texas, Austin. He more recently helped launch the Courage First Athlete Helpline to build awareness around sexual abuse in sport and offer confidential support.