On International Women’s Day 2023 on March 8 we celebrate our fantastic female coaches who dedicate their work to support athletes around the world!
Joska le Conté (NED, coach of 2022 Skeleton Olympic bronze medallist and Overall World Cup Champion and European Champion Kimberley Bos)
„Last year, I saw that more and more females are getting involved in our sport. I'm happy to be one of them, but I think we can use more in our sport. When I started coaching five years ago, I started off as an IBSF coach, and I never expected to become a World Cup coach two years later and see my athlete win bronze medal at the Olympic Games two years from that. By now, I also got named performance director in our federation. I think if you follow your dreams, it might not always be easy, but keep following your dreams and there will be a lot of opportunities. I hope I can inspire other females to stay involved in our beautiful sport, after they retire from their sliding career. I think there will be a lot of opportunities. Just follow your dreams and do what you want to do.“
Maria Constantin (ROU/GER - piloted the first ever all-female 4-man bobsleigh sled during BMW IBSF World Championships 2017 at Königssee, coach at the German bobsleigh team)
„Being a female bobsleigh coach is the same as being a female bobsleigh athlete – you fight misconceptions every single day. For example, that women can’t drive a bobsled. That’s why chose to become a coach – to empower women to be brave, tob e loud and to fight against every single obstacle that’s put in their way. That’s why I say – dear women, follow your dreams, keep your heads up, empower each other and remember: we’re stronger together.“
Nicola Minichiello (GBR, 2009 2-woman Bobsleigh World Champion, IBSF coach and North American Cup coordinator)
„When I started coaching, after finishing my athlete career, it was a very lonely world for a female. It’s getting better step by step, together we will overcome the barriers. Keep pushing, keep fighting, own your place as a female in this sport! Whether as a coach, an administrator, a manager or in any role. There is a place and a need for females to stay involved in IBSF after retirement.“
Elfje Willemsen (BEL, Coach of the Canadian bobsleigh team, pilot Justin Kripps won 4-man Bobsleigh bronze at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics)
„I sometimes kind of forget I am a woman in a men’s world. I just feel like a coach. Anyway, realizing that there are not so many women in this coaching world makes me sad but it also means there’s room for growth. It is great to find nations or teams that are willing to give you a chance coaching as a woman. I am glad to inspire girls and woman to go for the coaching job - It is possible and it is awesome.“
Micaela Widmer (CAN/SUI, Skeleton athlete for Canada and Switzerland, now coaching in Canada)
„It’s amazing to see how many female coaches we have now on the Skeleton tours. When I started out sliding in 2006, I think there was only one. I love seeing how passionate, knowledgeable and dedicated we are as a group of female coaches and I can only hope that progress will contimue and the female coachest hat come afetr us won’t have to work as hard to prove their skill amongst male coaches and officials.“
Rayoung Mun (KOR, Overall North American Cup champion in Women’s Skeleton 2017, first Korean female skeleton coach)
„Traditionally in Asian cultures it’s more uncommon to see female coaches taking on high positions. But today society has seen lots of changes. I feel very honoured that I am able to break cultural barriers and to be a mentor for next generation. I would like to say to next generation, you have enough potential to be anything. So please don’t be afraid of challenges and extend your value to the world. Happy International Women’s day!