Why are there so few women coaching in elite Track & Field? (Carmelita Jeter)

Back in 2017, we interviewed the fastest women alive – Carmelita Jeter. A woman who has achieved it all on the track – a World Record Holder in the 4 x 100m from the London 2012 Olympic Games, has an insane 100m PB of 10.64 and a string of Gold medals including Olympic and World Championship Golds.

Carmelita is now the Associate Head Coach at Missouri State University. In 2017, she was involved in coaching another phenomial sprinter – Murielle Ahouré, to 4th place at the London World Championships. We asked Carmelita her thoughts on being one of the few female coaches at the Championships

Did you know that during these World Champs, and the Olympic and Diamond Leagues, that less than 5% of all the athletes have female coaches? What are your thoughts on that and why do you think the numbers are so low?

I noticed when I was in the back [warm up area] there was not a lot of women! Even when I competed I noticed that there wasn’t a lot of women coaches.  It’s only a very small handful of women coaches out there and a very small handful of great women coaches!

I don’t know why…maybe some athletes after they are done competing, they just want to be a wife, or the homemaker, or just decide to go on a totally different path.  Coaching is not for everybody.  Just because you have run fast, doesn’t mean that you are able to translate what you know and how you feel to someone else.  That’s male or female!! There is not a gender on that, that’s just fact!

I really hope and wish that more women would step up and coach.  When Murielle ran the first heat of the 100m, I received over 5 emails from young women who were shocked saying ‘are you coaching! Can I come to LA and you coach me?’

I responded to each woman by saying ‘I am at the World Championships right now, I am extremely focussed, but I didn’t want you to think I was neglecting you or ignoring you.  I will give you a ring when I am done doing what I have to do’. But I was so shocked and surprised that so many women were like ‘oh my gosh, there’s a woman coach! I need her.’