DUBAI – Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Creative Sports Awards yesterday announced the participation of Anita DeFrantz, Vice President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), as one of the speakers at the 13th Dubai International Symposium for Sports Creativity, which will be held on November 1 at the Palazzo Versace hotel under the theme “Empowerment of Women in Sport”.
DeFrantz, who was a member of the United States rowing team at the 1976 Montreal Summer Olympics and won the bronze medal in the women’s eight, has been one of the leading voices for gender-equality in the Olympic movement and became the first female Vice President of the IOC executive committee in 1997, remained in the seat until 2001.
Last month, she made a return as IOC Vice President, elected to a four-year term at the 131st IOC Session in Lima, Peru, and the 13th Dubai International Symposium for Sports Creativity will be one of her first official appearance since her re-election.
Welcoming her participation, His Excellency Moza Al Marri, the General Secretary of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Creative Sports Awards, lauded DeFrantz as a role model for women in sports.
“We are really proud that after the announcement of Her Royal Highness Princess Haya Bint Al Hussain – an Olympian and champion in equestrian sports, a UN Messenger of Peace, a former member of the International Olympic Committee and former President of the International Equestrian Federation – as a keynote speaker at the 13th Dubai International Symposium for Sports Creativity, we can announce the participation of Anita DeFrantz, the Vice President of the Organising Committee for the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games.
“DeFrantz is one of the leading names in the Olympic movement and it is an honour to have her here and share her personal experience as an athlete and a top administrative official, and give her views on the empowerment of women in sports.
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“She is a role model for women in sports, both as an athlete winning the highest sporting honours and then playing an important leadership role in the Olympic movement, which is what we seek in our work at the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Creative Sports Awards in general and during the Symposium in particular.”
Besides the IOC Executive Board, DeFrantz has also served on the Legal Affairs Commission of the IOC and its Finance Commission as well. She was also a member of the IOC’s Summer Program Commission, which determines which sports will be included in Olympic competition, from 1989-1994 and has been on the United States Olympic Committee’s Board of Directors since 1976.
In 1995, she became chair of the IOC’s Women and Sports Commission and is credited with getting women’s softball and soccer on the Olympic programs, as well as the vast increase in the number of opportunities for women’s competition.
An African-American, DeFrantz has also received numerous awards, honours and recognitions. In 2017, she was inducted to the LA Coliseum Court of Honour. Last year, she was given the Olympic Truce Award at the Rio Olympic Games and in 2011, Newsweek named her one of “150 Women Who Shake the World”, while French magazine L’Equipe picked her as one of the “10 Women Who Changed Sport” in the world in 2010. Earlier in May 2003, Sports Illustrated named her as one of the 101 most influential minorities in all of sports.