Last NameSportCountryYear Inducted
Sport: Official/Administrator
Inducted: 1984
Country: United States
Born: April 18, 1894, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Died: September 1966

One of the leading figures in the amateur sports movement within the United States for more than 40 years, Charles Ornstein was a member of the United States Olympic Committee from 1924 until his death in 1966. Ornstein was chief spokesman for the American Jewish community on all
matters concerning amateur athletics.

His early years on the USOC were as the representative of the U.S. Army, and for nearly four decades he represented the Jewish Welfare Board on the USOC. Ornstein was a member of the Executive Committee of both the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) and the USOC.

In 1948, the hotelier by profession was named chairman of USOC’s Food and Housing Committee with responsibility for providing housing and food for all U.S. athletes participating in the Olympic Games. His reputation as a provider had spread; at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, he also fed the Canadian and British athletes—in all, more than 1,000 athletes, daily.

As chairman of the Jewish Welfare Board’s national Health and Physical Education Committee from its inception in 1943 until his death in September 1996, Ornstein played a leading role in the creation and expansion of sports and recreational activities at Jewish Community Centers and YM-YWHAs throughout the world.

With AAU President Jeremiah T. Mahoney, Ornstein was in the forefront of a dramatic but unsuccessful effort to have the United States boycott the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Although many American and international athletes refused to be included in “Hitler’s Games,” the Berlin Olympiad went on as scheduled.

Ornstein was one of the four founders, with Harry Henshel, Edward Rosenblum, and Harold Zimman, of the United States Committee Sports For Israel in May 1948. In 1950, he and the Committee were key figures in assisting Israel to obtain membership on the International Olympic Committee.

The organizer and first president of the New York Hotel Association, he died in an auto accident on September 8, 1966.
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