Tennis Champion and Social Activist
DONNA DE VARONA
Donna de Varona was born on April 26, 1947 in San Diego, California. At the age of thirteen she became the youngest competitor at the 1960 Olympic Games. Within the next four years, she broke an unprecedented 18 world swimming records and won two Olympic Gold Medals.By age seventeen, she was voted Most Outstanding Female Athlete in the world by both the Associated Press and the United Press International. After attaining 37 national championships and two Olympic gold medals, she retired from competitive sports in 1965. That same year, de Varona became the first female sports broadcaster on network television and in so doing paved the way for future female athletes and journalists. As an ABC Sports on-air analyst, commentator, host, writer and producer she earned an Emmy Award nomination for Keepers of the Flame, a TV special on the Olympics, and received an Emmy for her story about a Special Olympian. She also won the Gracie Award two consecutive years for her Sporting News Radio show: Donna de Varona on Sports. De Varona is a UCLA graduate and has been married to John Pinto since 1987. They have two children. De Varona is a founding member of the Women’s Sports Foundation and its first President. She served five terms on the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, and was a moving force in Congress’ passage of the 1978 Amateur Sports Act and the 1972 landmark “Title IX” legislation. In 2002-2003 she served on the U. S. Secretary of Education’s Commission on Opportunity in Athletics.
"Setting goals, coming back after a defeat, never giving up; sports teaches you all those things."