Female Coaches at the Olympics: a turning of tradition for Team GB

As we near the Olympics Games taking place in Rio this summer, the Female Coaching Network has been in contact with some of the few female coaches who will be jetting off to the South American continent in August. However, there is not a strong association between female coaches and the Olympics games. Only 11% of the accredited coaches in the 2012 Olympic games were women – a mere 358 women compared with 2867 men.

There is an overpowering majority of male coaches involved in the Olympics and some sports have no female coaches at all. Whilst there are some sports with a strong custom of female coaches such as synchronised swimming, it has often been argued that men tend to be more authoritative in their coaching style. Throughout our interviews, the FCN has been looking at some of the Olympic female coaches styles and methods and it is clear that everyone is different and authoritative does not always mean better.

On the Olympic track, some recent female coaches have included Christine Bowmaker who now coaches 2008 Olympic champion and 2012 silver medallist Christina Ohuruogu. Equally, Olympic champion in Athens in 2004, Dame Kelly Holmes was coached by Margo Jennings who has been considered by many as one of the best middle distance running coaches in the world.

In the British team despite a fall between Moscow in 1980 and Sydney in 2000, Athens in 2004 saw an
increase in female coaches whereby 10% of the coaches for the British Olympic team were women. We will wait with great interest to see the final total of female coaches in Rio for this years Olympic games, but recent years has certainly seen a turn of the male coaching tradition at the games. Female coaches have and will continue to prove themselves to be just as fit as men for coaching medal winning athletes at the Olympic Games.

We will be keeping you up to date with how the coaches we have interviewed are getting on throughout Rio and wish them all the very best of luck.

Olympic Reporter: Charlotte Beckett is a centre court netball player at the University of York studying English and History. She plays a variety of college sport alongside netball from tag rugby to volleyball as well as organising sporting events at the university and running the Amsterdam Marathon 2015. Charlotte is glued to the media during the two week olympic game period and was lucky enough to watch London 2012 in her home country. Her aim is to visit the games in another country one day, combining sport and travel!