ANITA L. DEFRANTZ is a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and was elected for a second term as a Vice President in 2017. She serves on the Legal Affairs Commission of the IOC, which reviews legal issues for the organization, and on the Finance Commission, which reviews the investments and spending plans, as well as with the 2020 Tokyo Games organizing committee. She has served on the United States Olympic Committee Board of Directors since 1976, after her election to the Athletes Advisory Committee.
Before she joined the ranks of the IOC, DeFrantz captained the U.S. women’s rowing team and rowed in the eight that won a bronze medal at the 1976 Montreal Olympic Games. DeFrantz served as Vice President of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee and was elected to IOC membership in 1986, making her not only the first African-American but also the first American woman to serve on the committee.
In 1987, DeFrantz began her 28-year presidency stewarding the legacy of 1984 LA Games as president of the LA84 Foundation, which received 40% of the 1984 surplus, just over $93 million. Over the past 32 years, the LA84 Foundation has invested more than $225 million to support more than 2,000 youth sports organizations, and it continues to provide Los Angeles youth with recreation and sports opportunities. The LA84 Foundation has also commissioned research and conferences on issues important to sport, as well as housing the largest digital sports library in the nation.
In 1992, she was elected to the IOC Executive Board and was appointed to the IOC’s Olympic Program Commission. In 1995, she was appointed chair of the Women and Sport Consortium, which succeeded in opening the sport up more to women. In 1997, she was the first woman elected to a four-year term as a vice president, a position she held until 2001. From 1989-1994 she served on the IOC’s Program Commission, which proposes sports to be included in Olympic competition. She is credited with getting women’s softball and soccer accepted on the program. In addition, she was instrumental in the vast increase in the number of opportunities for women’s competition, on the Olympic program.
Currently, she is president of the Tubman Truth Corp., an organization working to provide liberty and justice for all people.
She also serves on LA 2028, the Los Angeles organizing committee for the 2028 summer Olympic Games, as the LA 2028 Senior Adviser for Legacy.
In 1977 she started her legal career as the Staff Attorney at the Juvenile Law Center of Philidelphia. DeFrantz has B.A. from Connecticut College and a J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School. She holds more than a dozen honorary doctorate degrees from college and universities, including Pepperdine University, Mount Holyoke College and Pomona College.
She has received numerous awards, honors and recognitions. In 2017, she was inducted to the LA Coliseum Court of Honor and she also received the Distinguished Leadership Award from the Center for Sociocultural Sport and Olympic Research (CSSOR) at California State University, Fullerton. In 2016, she was given the Olympic Truce Award at the Rio Olympic Games. In 2011, Newsweek named her one of “150 Women Who Shake the World,” and Los Angeles magazine named her one of “10 Women Making a Difference in Los Angeles.” In 2010, the French magazine L’Equipe named her one of the “10 Women Who Changed Sport” in the world. In 2006, the NCAA named her one of “NCAA’s Most 100 Influential Student Athletes.” In May 2003, Sports Illustrated named her one of the 101 most influential minorities in all of sports, and from 1991-1999, The Sporting News named her one of the 100 most powerful people in sports. There’s even a large plaque with her name on it on a pillar outside the world-famous LA Coliseum sporting complex!