Women to take center stage at Tokyo Olympics & Paralympics this summer
On International Women’s Day, NBC looks ahead to this summer at the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, where the women of Team USA and NBC Olympics will again lead the way at the world’s biggest athletic event.
Over the past four Games (since London 2012), women have won more Olympic medals (144) than men (129) for Team USA. In addition, women routinely account for more than 50% of NBCUniversal’s Olympic total viewing audience.
Among U.S. women in this summer’s Olympics, gymnast Simone Biles competes to extend her record as the most dominant gymnast ever, the U.S. women’s basketball team aims for an unprecedented seventh consecutive Olympic gold medal, and the U.S. women’s soccer squad plays for its fourth gold medal in the last five Olympics. Swimmer Jessica Long (23 medals) and track & field athlete Tatyana McFadden (17 medals), two of the most dominant Paralympians of all time, also look to continue successful streaks in Tokyo.
With so many women in the storylines, NBC Olympics and Paralympics massive operation features more women behind-the-scenes in executive and leadership production positions, as well as in on-camera announce roles, than for any prior NBCUniversal presentation of the Summer Games.
Leading NBCUniversal’s coverage as executive producer and president, NBC Olympics production, is Molly Solomon, who previously worked in various production roles on 10 Olympics for NBC Sports. Most recently, she oversaw the production of golf’s return to the Olympic Games in Rio in 2016, and served as coordinating producer of the 2012 London Olympics opening ceremony and primetime show. Solomon also serves as executive producer, GOLF Channel.
“I’m excited for this summer, when the world comes together for competition and to celebrate its finest athletes,” Solomon said. “With so many American women putting forth dominant performances in individual and team sports in recent Olympics, I’m extremely proud to be part of our NBC Olympics team, which also features talented women at all levels and job functions – both in front of and behind the camera – who are essential to making our presentation a success across every platform.”
Jenny Storms, NBCUniversal’s chief marketing officer for entertainment and sports, heads the company’s consumer engagement and marketing strategy, bringing the stories of the athletes and their journeys to life across NBCU’s marketing platforms leading up to and throughout the Olympics and Paralympics. Storms promoted NBC Olympics’ coverage of the two most recent Games (PyeongChang 2018 and Rio 2016).
“We recognize the stories of dedication and perseverance begin long before these remarkable athletes take the Olympic and Paralympic stage, capturing our attention,” Storms said. “Launching ‘On Her Turf’ as a platform to highlight and translate the lessons these athletes have learned has helped empower and inspire everyday women and girls to be the best version of themselves, both on and off the field. Working with the impressive collection of women at NBCU serves as a daily reminder of women’s potential when they are empowered.”
Marsha Bird is senior vice president of NBC Olympic operations, overseeing production logistics, accreditation, transportation, lodging, and Games event management. A veteran of 12 prior Olympic assignments with NBCU, the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games will be Bird’s first in this role.
“Working on the logistics for the Olympics is the ultimate team sport, and the Tokyo Games are the most challenging and complex we’ve ever faced,” Bird said. “I’m honored to be leading this group and for the privilege to work alongside so many talented colleagues on the Tokyo Games.”
Among NBC Olympics’ record number of female on-air commentators for the Tokyo Olympics this summer are Mary Carillo, Andrea Joyce, Nastia Liukin, Rebecca Lowe, Sanya Richards-Ross, Michele Tafoya and Kathryn Tappen. Complete on-air teams will be announced in the coming months.
To hear from women at all levels of experience and in varying job functions who will be a part of this summer’s NBC Olympics team, click here for a special video.
NBCSN boasts special slate of programming presented by “On Her Turf” with a 7.5-hour Olympic marathon featuring every gold medal won by American women at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics (5 p.m. ET). The epic U.S.-Canada women’s gold-medal hockey game leads off (5-7 p.m.), followed by the improbable come-from-behind, first-place finish in the cross country team sprint by Jessie Diggins and Kikkan Randall (7-8 p.m.), Mikaela Shiffrin’s win in the giant slalom (8-9 p.m.), Chloe Kim’s victory in the halfpipe (9:30-11 p.m.), and Jamie Anderson capturing the slopestyle (11 p.m.-12:30 a.m.). Click here for a look at NBC Sports’ programming during Women’s History Month this March.
Following is a closer look at women who will lead job functions for NBC Olympics this summer:
•Rebecca Chatman is vice president and coordinating producer of Olympic production and is overseeing NBC Olympics’ inaugural coverage on Peacock, NBCUniversal’s streaming service. Chatman has worked on the previous 11 Olympics presented by NBCUniversal, beginning with the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. She produced the NBC primetime show for the 2014 Sochi, 2016 Rio, and 2018 PyeongChang Olympics.
•Lee Ann Gschwind is the coordinating producer of Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA, which will present coverage throughout the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games. Gschwind is a veteran of eight NBC Olympics presentations, beginning with 2004 Athens.
•Gemma Mansfield is senior vice president of human resources for NBC Olympics’ production and operations. Beginning in the role in July 2018, Tokyo marks Mansfield’s first Games with NBCU, where she will oversee approximately 4,000 NBC Olympics personnel on-site in Tokyo and in U.S. production locations.
•Alexa Pritting is the coordinating producer of the Tokyo Paralympic Games, which will include a record 1,200 hours of programming across the platforms of NBCUniversal from Aug. 24-Sept. 5. Pritting has worked on seven Olympics and three Paralympics for NBCU.
•Betsy Riley is the track & field producer in Tokyo, marking her eighth assignment for NBC Olympics. Riley, who served as the producer for sideline reporter Tafoya on “Sunday Night Football” in 2020, began working on NBC Olympics coverage in 2004.
•Lyndsay Signor is senior vice president of consumer engagement for NBC Sports, responsible for promoting the Games across all NBCU platforms. Signor will work her seventh Olympics for NBCU in Tokyo, with her first the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
•Patricia Vega is chief financial officer, NBC Sports and Olympics production. Vega, who marks her eighth Games with NBCU this summer, oversees the financial planning and reporting for NBC Olympics.
NBC Olympics will provide unprecedented coverage of the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics on Friday, July 23, creating a full day of Olympic programming on NBC that culminates in what is always one of the most-watched nights in television with the primetime presentation of the ceremony.