Olympic medalist Anita DeFrantz has made a career of Olympic leadership and serves as a voting official of both the International Olympic Committee and the U.S. Olympic Committee. She has returned from a whirlwind of organizational meetings and sports events at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia with momentum to accelerate the success of the Olympics in the future. Her latest project is serving on the co-ordination committee for the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.
After winning a bronze medal in rowing at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal, Canada and completing law school at the University of Pennsylvania, Ms. DeFrantz became Vice-President of the Organizing Committee of the Games of the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. Since then, she has the the Amateur Athletic Foundation, later renamed the LA84 Foundation and has participated in many other Olympic organizations. She was elected to the Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee last September. Her multi-faceted assignments with many different Olympic Games and Olympic development organizations since helped her appreciate the continued achievements of Olympic organizations at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, which she shared in a March 5 interview with Examiner.com.
In Sochi, Ms. DeFrantz was able to see the Olympics from several perspectives that American fans watching at home on television do not get to see. Local broadcasts included unedited live streaming from Olympic Broadcast Services. These are provided to the individual broadcast rights holders from many different countries, who edit the content to match the interests of local viewers in specific sports and personalities. Ms. DeFrantz got to see each of the different sports in the Winter Olympics with an all event pass to seating areas reserved for sports organization officials. This program has the additional benefit of professional networking with officials from many different sports to enable better understanding of the organizational support that helps athletes achieve peak performance.
The facilities for athletes at this winter’s Olympics in Sochi achieved peak performance of their own, according to Ms. DeFrantz. Athlete participation in the elections of athletes to represent their community at the International Olympic Committee surpassed 80%. And the athlete dining and housing facilities in the Olympic Village reached a new level of excellence. Ms. DeFrantz was not surprised by the large $50 billion price tag for the facilities Sochi, because there was nothing in place when plans began seven years ago. DeFrantz is pleased by the continued progress she has observed in preparations for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, but notes that no official poster has emerged to promote this important Olympic tradition.
Ms. DeFrantz and other visitors who attended the 2014 Winter Olympics in person also got to see several interactive exhibits that will be featured at the newly redesigned International Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland. A bobsled piloting simulation created by imagineeers from Omega pleased spectators in Sochi and will be featured in an upcoming exhibition on time and sports at the International Olympic Museum. This will also be part of a travelling exhibition that can be transported to other Olympic museums.
Would you like to go behind the scenes of the planning and reporting of Olympic events? This June, you will have a unique opportunity. And it is free of charge! The Autonomous University of Barcelona will be presenting the first online course about “The Olympics and the Media” this summer together with the American online education enterprise Coursera. You can register online at this link.