From USRowing.org, by Beth Kohl:
One hundred days out from the start of the 2012 Olympic Games, USRowing is proud to name Anita L. DeFrantz as the Honorary Chair of America Rows, the nationwide diversity and inclusion initiative created by USRowing to increase awareness of rowing and introducing the sport to a diverse group of Americans.
DeFrantz is a member of the IOC (International Olympic Committee) and won a bronze medal rowing in the women’s eight in the 1976 Olympic Games, the first time female rowers were allowed to compete. She also serves as vice president of FISA, the International Rowing Federation.
Since competing in the 1976 Olympic Games, DeFrantz has devoted much of her energy to helping improve the lives of America’s youth through athletics, by mentoring organizations such as America Rows. As president of the LA84 Foundation, she focuses on expanding youth sports opportunities in Southern California, awarding grants to more than 1,000 organizations serving two million young people. She also continues to work tirelessly for the IOC, ensuring that the Olympic Games endure and flourish. Despite such strong involvement in so many sports at every level, it is rowing that is most near and dear to her heart.
“One of the beautiful aspects of the sport of rowing is that it is accessible to everyone. There is little better than being at one with nature in a boat, gliding across the water, working in unison with a team of athletes” said DeFrantz. “I am excited to help bring the sport of rowing to a diverse and too often underrepresented audience around the country. Through rowing, our youth and adults learn about commitment, discipline, time management and teamwork. All are essential traits needed to succeed in life and sport. Through rowing, we learn that anything is possible.”
Launched in 2010, America Rows currently provides organizational and financial resources to 25 rowing programs across the country. Goals for 2012 include addressing the requests to help fund new programs, providing stronger tools for current America Rows programs to compete and where possible, combining rowing with academic tutoring programs.
“We could not be more proud, having Anita take a leadership role in America Rows,” said USRowing Inclusion Manager Richard Butler. “She has played an important role behind the scenes, working closely with some of our member organizations. With this initiative in place for two years, we are at a pivotal time for growth. Having Anita on board will help us achieve the awareness we need to continue to change lives of urban youth and adults through rowing.”