Anita DeFrantz is a former Olympic athlete. In fact, she was captain of the U.S. rowing team that that won bronze at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal.
She is now vice president of the International Olympic Committee, as well as an IOC board member.
DeFrantz has seen the Games change in many ways over the last 40+ years.
“First, the recognition of the importance of having women – women athletes, women as coaches, women as leaders,” DeFrantz, 65, said on After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “I was elected vice president last November, and we’ve continued to have women vice presidents of the IOC since I was first elected back in 1997. So we’re moving ahead. Our goal is to have 50 percent of the athletes (be) women by 2024, if not 2028. We’re getting there for the Winter Games. It’s just going to take a little bit longer. We’re at 42.5 percent at these Games, but that’s a long way from maybe two percent back in 1900. So that’s been key.”
DeFrantz praised the media for their coverage of female athletes.
“I have to say that the media, during the Games, give the coverage to women in proportion to the number of women on the team,” she said. “I wish that could happen (all the time). If it could happen for four weeks, I hope it can happen forever.”
While DeFrantz is enjoying the 2018 Games, she’s also excited about 2028. Los Angeles will host the Summer Games 10 years from now.
“I’m so jazzed about that,” she said. “The folks here, my fellow Americans, love the Games, and they’ve shown that over time. We don’t do much to teach people about the Games, and we don’t do enough, in my opinion, watching and following the athletes in sports until the Games come. But boy, we are solidly interested in the Games.”
Los Angeles, DeFrantz said, is unique in its overwhelming desire to host. Polls show that at least 80 percent of L.A. residents are in favor of hosting the Games.
“We’re happy about the chance of the Games coming back, and that’s stupendous,” DeFrantz said. “There’s no city in the world that has that kind of love of the Games. We are ready and waiting.”
Los Angeles last hosted the Games in 1984.