Donna de Varona

Most Influential Person

American swimmer, Olympic gold medalist, former world record-holder, television sportscaster

Why Is Donna de Varona Influential?

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According to Wikipedia, Donna de Varona Pinto is an American former competition swimmer, activist, and television sportscaster. Biography Swimming career In 1960, de Varona qualified for the U.S. Olympic swimming team at age 13. She already held the world record in her signature event, the 400-meter individual medley, but the event would not be added to the Olympic schedule until the 1964 Olympics. At the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome, De Varona swam for the U.S. team in the preliminary heats of the women's 4×100 freestyle relay, but she did not receive a gold medal because she did not swim in the event final. Four years later at the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan, after she was well on her way to setting a career total of eighteen world best times and world records, she won the gold medal in the women's 400-meter individual medley. She defeated the second-place finisher by a margin of six seconds and set an Olympic record. 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.

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