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Donna de Varona

Olympic Champion, Emmy Award Winning Broadcaster & Member of the IOC Women in Sport Commission


Donna de Varona, a two-time Olympian and double gold medallist in swimming, is a long-standing member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Women and Sport Commission. She is a recipient of the IOC Olympic Order in silver, awarded for her ground-breaking work on behalf of athletes, World Cup football and the Olympic Movement. 

In 1964, after setting some 20 world records and fastest times, she was voted the most outstanding woman athlete in the world by AP and UPI. She is an Emmy-winning pioneer producer and journalist in sports and news, having covered some 18 Olympic Games. She has been awarded five honorary doctorates for her continuing advocacy in education and Olympic sports-related US federal legislation.

The first President and Chairman of the Women's Sports Foundation, de Varona is a former member of the board of directors of the US Olympic Committee and the US Olympic Foundation. She is currently an ambassador to Prince Albert's Peace and Sport Foundation, and a member of the International Fair Play Committee and Special Olympics International. She is President of DAMAR Productions, a sports events marketing and events productions company.

A visionary, she currently develops programmes to help elite women athletes transition from active sports competition to productive careers after retiring.


The speakers

Using the unique power of sport to bring people together, the Olympism in Action Forum sees a range of global players, including Olympic Movement stakeholders, athletes, private and public sector leaders, NGO representatives, academics, artists and the media come together to talk on topical contemporary issues. Chosen because of their ability to effect change and their wide range of sometimes differing opinions, the speakers will lead lively debates and seek to challenge received wisdom to inspire new ways of thinking.

Meet the speakers.
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