Anita L. DeFrantz: Profile
Anita L. DeFrantz is recognized as one of the world's most powerful sports figures. She
was the first American woman and first African American to serve as vice president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the ruling body of the Olympic Movement world-wide. When asked what her secret is for influencing colleagues, DeFrantz comments, "I ask people I trust for help and advice." DeFrantz combines wisdom, hers and others, with her well-honed habits of discipline, focus and preparation.
She won a medal for rowing in the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal while she was a law student. The next four years were filled with national and international competitions and medals. She also became involved in the political debate regarding the U.S. led boycott of the 1980 Olympic Games. This exposure led to DeFrantz playing an important role in the Olympic Movement in the United States. Six years later she took her seat as a member of the IOC.
DeFrantz moves comfortably through dazzling new experiences, whether selecting the site of the next Olympic Games, awarding medals to Olympic Games competitors, promoting the involvement of more women in sports or fighting against drug abuse in sports. As head of the Amateur Athletic Foundation (AAF) of Los Angeles, the legacy of the 1984 Olympic Games, DeFrantz stays in touch with true sports amateurs and with people whose backgrounds more closely parallel her middle-class upbringing in Indiana. Few of the one million youngsters participating in AAF-supported programs will be Olympians, but DeFrantz hopes they will learn the value of being prepared to seize new and often unforeseen opportunities.
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