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Happy Birthday To Greenwich'’s Donna de Varona

Happy birthday to Donna Elizabeth de Varona.
Happy birthday to Donna Elizabeth de Varona.

GREENWICH, Conn. -- Happy Birthday To Greenwich’s Donna Elizabeth de Varona!

De Varona, who has owned a home in Greenwich, turns 69 on Tuesday. The swimmer was born April 26, 1947, in San Diego.

In 1960, at age 13, Donna qualified for her first U.S. Olympic swimming team. She already held the world record in the 400-meter individual medley, her signature event, but the event would not be added to the Olympic schedule until the 1964 Olympics.

In the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, she won the gold medal in the women's 400-meter individual medley. She also earned a second gold medal as a member of the world-record-setting U.S. team in the 4×100-meter freestyle relay.

At the age of 17, she appeared on ABC's "Wide World of Sports," becoming the youngest and one of the first women sportscasters for a national network.

Her groundbreaking career has earned her an Emmy, two Gracies and the opportunity to cover a wide variety of sports events, including 17 winter and summer Olympic games.

A promoter of women in sport, in the mid-1970s, she joined Billie Jean King in establishing the The Women's Sport Foundation. She served as the first president (1979-1984) and subsequently the chairman and honorary trustee for the Women's Sports Foundation.

On Oct. 4, 2004, de Varona was inducted into the Women's Hall of Fame in Seneca Falls, N.Y., and in 2006, she was inducted into the Museum of Television & Radio's first class of 50 "She Made It" pioneers in media.

She serves on the executive board of Special Olympics International and is a member of the International Olympic Committee's Women and Sports Commission.

She is also a board member of the International Swimming Hall of Fame and serves as an adviser to Jordan's Prince Feisal's Generations for Peace foundation and Tony Blair’s Beyond Sport initiative.

She is president of DAMAR Productions, a marketing, consulting and events advisory company.

Most recently she was appointed to the U.S. Department of State's empowerment of girls and women through sports council by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

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