YWCA Greenwich will be holding its 3rd Annual Women Who Inspire Awards to recognize exceptional women in our community. YWCA Greenwich’s Women Who Inspire Awards was established to recognize and celebrate outstanding women who have excelled in philanthropic, professional and volunteer pursuits. Importantly, these honorees have enriched the lives of many in our community. This event combines the best of the YWCA Greenwich BRAVA and Spirit of Greenwich Awards and acknowledges the changes in society that have led to the fluidity of work/life pursuits for women of today.

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Donna de Varona was already a world record holder at the age of 13 in the 400 Individual Medley. She competed in the Rome Olympics trials, winning gold in the 400 freestyle relay. In the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, Donna captured two gold medals, one as a member of the world record-breaking 400 freestyle relay and the second in the first edition of the women’s 400 Individual medley. In 1965, after breaking 18 world records, she was voted the most outstanding woman athlete in the world by the international press. At age 17, she retired from competitive swimming and began a pioneering career in the broadcasting industry.

An Emmy award winning sports journalist, Donna has covered 18 Olympic Games, and has been awarded 5 honorary doctorates for her groundbreaking work in education and Olympic sports related federal legislation (Title IX of the Equal Education Amendments Act and the 1978 Olympic and Amateur Sport Act). Her contributions have earned her an induction into the prestigious Women’s Hall of Fame in Seneca Falls. Donna has also been a long-standing member of the International Olympic Committee Women in Sport Commission and is an IOC Silver Olympic Order recipient. In 2019, Donna was awarded the United States Olympic and Paralympic Torch award culminating her lifetime of service.

Donna de Varona with Bobby Valentine at the YWCA Greenwich Centennial Celebration

Inducted into the U. S. Olympic Hall of fame, Donna joined elite women athletes in establishing the Women’s Sports Foundation, serving as its first President and Chairman. As a founding board member of the International Special Olympics, Donna is a much sought-after contributor to significant sporting events and organizations. Her achievements are not limited to swimming; as Chairman of the groundbreaking 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup, her team delivered the most successful women’s sporting tournament in history. As President of her own marketing and sports events company, she worked with the 2028 Los Angeles bid committee to bring the Olympic Games back to the United States. Donna is a UCLA graduate and is married to John Pinto, they have two children, John David and Joanna.

For questions, contact Janet Eliopoulos at j.eliopoulos@ywcagreenwich.org or 203-869-6501, ext. 102