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Donna De Varona: 1947—: Olympic Swimmer, Sportscaster, Activist

Became A Reporter And Activist

Despite her early success with ABC, it was difficult for de Varona to find work in her male-dominated field. She traveled all over the United States, filling in temporarily when regular anchormen became ill or went on vacation. Eventually, she found permanent work as an Olympic reporter with NBC and ABC.

During the 1970s, de Varona also became involved in activism for the cause of women's sports. She was a founding member of the Women's Sports Foundation, and in 1975 she served on President Ford's Commission on Olympic Sports. She also testified on behalf of Title IX legislation in front of both the House of Representatives and the Senate. Title IX legislation ultimately ensured that girls and women received the same opportunities and federal funding in sports education that boys and men did. According to an article in Great Women in Sports, de Varona told a Women's Sports and Fitness writer, "I will always be an activist. That is a lifetime commitment."

De Varona began covering the Olympics in 1972, and would report on the 1976 and 1984 Olympic Games for ABC. According to Great Women in Sports, she told a Women's Sports and Fitness reporter that the 1984 Olympics in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia were the most difficult for her: "I was there by myself, no producer, no assignments. I hustled everything myself. I just went out, grabbed a crew, did spots and wrote stories. That was my test because I was just back at ABC and we were in a crisis situation with the problems of scheduling and snow."

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Brief BiographiesBiographies: Theodosius I to David Watmough Biography - David Watmough comments:Donna De Varona: 1947—: Olympic Swimmer, Sportscaster, Activist Biography - Won Two Gold Medals Before Twenty, Became A Reporter And Activist, Clashed With Abc, Controversy Over Title Ix