(ATR) IOC member Anita DeFrantz has been honored with the prestigious Humanitarian Award from the Foundation for Global Sports Development.
David Ulich (left) and Dr. Steven Ungerleider give Anita DeFrantz the 2016 Foundation for Global Sports Development Humanitarian Award (ATR)
The award is presented to those who have stepped up as leaders and champions for social, economic, political, or environmental justice and equality. DeFrantz has worked throughout her career to break down barriers in sport and pave the way for youth to enter a sporting community where the rights and health of athletes are at the center of focus.
“It’s a great honor,” DeFrantz said of the award, presented at an event in Rio on Saturday.
“It means that a group of people feel that the work I have done is for the good of humanity – and that is exactly what I wanted to do.
“I was taught that if you believe in something you need to contribute to it, so I do. As Olympians we have so many privileges. Many people have put faith in me, and that’s what makes me work hard.”
A rowing bronze medalist from the 1976 Montreal Games, DeFrantz showed her spirit for ethical fairness when she stood up against the United States Government over the boycott of the 1980 Olympics in Moscow – risking her athletic future and career in the law to do so.
Anita DeFrantz (left) and fellow IOC member Nawal El Moutawakel (ATR)
She then went on to break ground as the first female member of the United States Olympic Committee and the first female Vice President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
She was the Vice President of the Organizing Committee for the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games and served as the president of the LA84 Foundation for nearly 30 years.
DeFrantz’s service to the IOC has and continues to be extensive. Serving on the Executive Board from 1992 – 2001 and again since 2013, DeFrantz was Vice President from 1997 – 2001 during which time she oversaw the coordination of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. She has given much to all areas of the Committee including the Athletes’ Commission, Women and Sport Commission and more recently the Olympic Channel.
Current IOC Vice President John Coates spoke at the event of the special bonds that has joined him to DeFrantz throughout their careers including their love of rowing, their fight against the 1980 boycott and their service to the Olympic community.
The 2012 and 2016 Global Sports Development humanitarian award honorees, Sir Philip Craven and Anita DeFrantz (ATR)
“Anita has devoted her life to equality and to ensuring that all children have access to sport,” Coates said.
“She has the fight and the passion to fight injustice. I can not think of a better person for this award.”
The award is accompanied by a $100,000 charitable grant to an organization of DeFrantz’s choice.
“It makes a real difference that I get to distribute money to organizations I care about – that is an amazing thing,” DeFrantz said of the grant, which she will share among three organizations across the areas of safe sport, ending slavery and rowing for young women.
DeFrantz is the fourth recipient of the prestigious award. Richard Pound was first honored with the award at its inception at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics, recognized for his dedication to ending doping in sport. At London 2012, Sir Philip Craven received the award for his work in expanding the opportunities for athletes with disabilities, bringing them to the forefront of competition. Professor Arne Ljungqvist received the award at the Sochi 2014 Games for his dedicated work as a medical researcher and advocate for clean sport.
The Foundation for Global Sports Development strives to be a leader in the sports community by delivering and supporting initiatives that promote fair play, education, and the physical and developmental benefits of sports for youth around the world. More information about the Humanitarian Award can be found here.
Written by Alice Wheeler in Rio de Janeiro
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