The New York Festivals Lifetime Achievement Award recognises prominent industry leaders, innovators, and driving forces in the broadcast industry whose accomplishments have advanced their field and made a lasting impression on the industry. The Lifetime Achievement Award will be celebrated at the Storytellers Gala honouring TV & Film Awards and Radio Awards trophy winners on 16 April.
2024 NYF Lifetime Achievement Recipient, Donna de Varona is a revered US Olympic Hall of Famer. She is currently a member of the board of directors of the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee, contributing significantly to the sports world. Her groundbreaking journey includes serving as the first female sports broadcaster on network television after retiring from an illustrious career in competitive swimming with 37 national championships and two Olympic gold medals at the age of 17 in 1965.
An Emmy award-winning sports journalist, de Varona is renowned for covering 18 Olympic Games from multiple networks including ABC, NBC, CBS, and Turner. Roles include management, live reporting, on-air, and co-anchor roles on some of the biggest stories at the Olympic games. As an ABC Sports on-air analyst, commentator, host, writer, and producer, she earned Emmy nominations and awards, including a notable piece on a Special Olympian.
As a pioneer for women in sports, de Varona played a key role in establishing the Women’s Sports Foundation, serving as its first President and Chairman. She chaired the groundbreaking 1999 Fifa Women’s Soccer World Cup and contributed to the formation of the very first IOC athletes commission in 1981 during the IOC Congress in Baden Baden, Germany.
A recipient of five honourary doctorates, de Varona is celebrated for her groundbreaking contributions in education and federal legislation related to Olympic and Paralympic sports, including the landmark Title IX of the Equal Education Amendments Act (1972) and the Olympic and Amateur Sport Act (1978). Inducted into the Women’s Hall of Fame in Seneca Falls, she has also served on the International Olympic Committee Women and Sport Commission and is currently a member of the IOC athlete’s entourage commission. A recipient of the IOC Silver Olympic Order she was appointed by President Clinton to work with Drug Czar Barry McCaffery in creating WADA and USADA.
In December of 2016 de Varona was honoured with the United States Olympic Foundation Bill Simon Award and in 2019 was a recipient of the United States Olympic and Paralympic torch award for outstanding contributions to sport.
As president of her marketing and sports events company, she founded and led EY’s Women Athletes Business Network, helping elite women athletes transition from sport to professional careers. Her leadership in sports communication and consistent advocacy for expanding women’s opportunities in sports have had a wide and lasting impact across the nation and globe.
The 2024 TV & Film Awards Storytellers Gala will be streamed on April 16th during the annual NAB Show in Las Vegas. This is the 14th year of NYF’s strategic partnership with NAB Show.
The deadline to enter the 2024 Television & Film Awards competition is 31 December 2023.