A Woman Of Many Passions,
Donna De Varona Is Still A Leader In Sports And Otherwise
Olympic gold medalist swimmer Donna de Varona never set out to continuously find herself in the middle of history. And yet, as her adult children like to joke, she has lived an epic life on par to Forrest Gump.
The moments are staggering: a two-time Olympian by age 17; a slew of world and Olympic records, not to mention three gold medals; retiring after the Olympic Games Tokyo 1964 and jumping to ABC as a gender-barrier-smashing sports broadcaster covering the Olympic Games.
She has since moved fluidly through the worlds of big-time broadcasting, global business, advocacy and politics, and being a pioneer to develop new avenues for female athletes. She co-founded the Women’s Sports Foundation and was its first president; still serves as longtime advocate for special needs athletes as a Special Olympics International executive board member; and uses her influence around the world to help create business career opportunities for Olympic female athletes through the International Women’s Forum.