10 Women Behind the Scenes of the Winter Olympics
Beijing 2022 is being hailed as the most gender-balanced Olympic Winter Games in history with women representing more than 45% of the athletes competing. Overall, 53% of the events feature women. This has been a hard fought effort, with the additions of women’s monobob and women’s freestyle skiing big air, as well as four new mixed-gender events.
In addition to the female athletes who are breaking records and receiving medals, there are thousands of women from around the world working tirelessly behind the scenes to make the games happen.
We’re highlighting just a few of the women who made this year’s Olympics possible:
Title: Executive Producer and President, NBC Olympics Production
After a more than 30-year career with NBC, today Molly Solomon is in charge of editorial production of NBC Olympics’ coverage of the Games. In 2021, the 13-time Emmy Award winner was also named to Adweek’s Most Powerful Women in Sports.
2. Benny Bonsu
Nationality: British / Ghanaian
Title: Director of Daily Content, Olympic Channel Services
Named a “Top 100 Most Influential African Women” in 2018 by “Okay Africa,” Benny Bonsu has a varied career background — from basketball agent to educator to sports broadcaster. Today, she is the Director of Daily Content at the award-winning Olympic Channel Services, where she is in charge of around-the-clock news, features, videos and podcasts for the International Olympic Committee.
3. Lin Cunzhen
Title: Professor at the School of Design, Beijing Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing 2022 emblem designer
Professor Lin Cunzhen, PhD, is the first female Chinese designer to design four distinct emblems and logos for the Olympic Games — the Youth Olympic Games Nanjing 2014, the bid emblem for Beijing 2022 and, when the bid was successful, the actual Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 emblems.
4. Lacey Senuk
Title: Ice Hockey Referee
St. Alberta ice officiator, Lacey Senuk, has been around the world officiating — including Canada, the United States, Italy, Russia, Finland, the Czech Republic, Mexico and Malaysia. Most recently the trailblazer of women officiators was called to the Winter Olympics in Beijing.
Title: Director of Mental Health Services, United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC)
Dr. Jessica Bartley is the first ever director of mental health services for the USOPC where she focuses on supporting athletes holistically with mental health assessment, referral, treatments and management.
A Pulitzer Prize photojournalist, Lucy Nicholson has photographed seven Olympic Games before this year’s competition in Beijing. She has also photographed World Cup soccer competitions, presidential elections in Afghanistan, Hong Kong protests, California wildfires and social documentary stories all across the United States.
Title: General Manager, Finish Women’s National Ice Hockey Team
After retiring from professional women’s hockey, Tuula Puputti was appointed as the General Manager for the Finnish Women’s and Girls Under 18 team in 2018. She is one of the few female General Managers in hockey.
8. Yang Yang
Title: Chair, Athletes’ Commission of the Beijing 2022 Organizing Committee
She went down in history books in 2002 when she became China’s first Winter Olympic gold winner. Today, Yang Yang wears two big hats — chairperson of the Athletes’ Commission of 2022 Beijing Olympic Winter Games Organizing Committee and vice president of World Anti-Doping Agency.
Nationality: Puerto Rican
Title: Chef de Mission, National Olympic Committee of Puerto Rico
As the coordinator for the Puerto Rican National Olympic Committee, Betsmara Cruz is responsible for the planning, preparation and execution of the team’s participation in the Beijing 2022 Games.
10. Kathrin Steffen
Nationality: German/ Norwegian
Title: Researcher, Olympic Games Injury and Illness Surveillance, International Olympic Committee (IOC)
As a part of the IOC team, Steffen monitors and records injuries and illnesses suffered by athletes at the Olympic Games to understand and help prevent them in the future.
Who are some women, not included on this list, who help make the Winter Olympics possible?