They are often behind the scenes, on the sidelines, and rarely in the headlines. Yet, their role is right at the heart of sport. We are celebrating female coaches who are paving the way for future generations.
Challenging expectations to inspire others
“For young women out there that want to coach, and want to work at the highest level, it’s much easier to envision that if they see somebody else doing it,” says Canada’s Karin Harjo, the first woman to coach an Alpine ski team.
“I tell women all the time: Ask the question, why not me?”
The IOC and FIS are committed to addressing the challenge and to supporting Olympic Movement and snow sports stakeholders to find pathways for more women to reach the highest levels of coaching. Increasing the visibility of elite coaches who have broken those barriers and who are role models for more women to follow their lead is itself a goal.
The life changing experience of the WISH programme
The IOC and FIS are committed to working on creating pathways for female coaches, from grassroots up to elite level. WISH – the Women in Sport High-performance pathway programme – is a key element of its response. This four-year programme funded by Olympic Solidarity aims to equip over 100 women for coaching at elite levels by 2024.
Representing 17 sports and 53 countries, the 97 coaches who have enrolled in the programme to date were selected for the course by their International Federations (IFs) and National Olympic Committees (NOCs) on the basis of their individual achievements, potential and ambition.
The programme is designed to help female coaches develop their leadership skills, confidence and careers. Mentoring is also a very important part of the programme. Coaches benefit from one-to-one leadership mentoring plus ongoing support from a sport-specific mentor. Such expert advice and feedback on real-life challenges can be invaluable to any coach, let alone a woman striving to perform at the top of her game in a male-dominated environment.