July 17, 2012
Former Lamar University women's basketball player Joanna Sutherland is the competition manager for basketball at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
Sutherland is responsible for all the planning, organization and management of the Olympic basketball and wheelchair basketball events at this year's games.
"'I'm honored to be given the opportunity to help showcase basketball and wheelchair basketball at the London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games," Sutherland said. The games are a terrific chance for Basketball in the UK to start realizing some of its potential and I look forward to contributing to that process - my only regret is that I won't be playing in the games themselves."
Sutherland, who is still an active player, played one season of basketball for the Lady Cardinals, averaging 6.0 points and 4.7 rebounds per game, while collecting 31 assists, 16 steals and seven blocked shots. After leaving Lamar, Sutherland also captained British Universities and was Scotland's Player of the Year in 1998.
"Being at Lamar was a fantastic experience," Sutherland said. "The facilities, coaching and training were so much better than what we had in Scotland. I wish I could have stayed for more than a year, but Edinburgh University was putting pressure on me to come back."
Sutherland still keeps up on the latest successs of the Lady Cardinals.
"They've had some great teams lately," she said. "I'm so happy to see that."
Sutherland, a native of Edinburgh, Scotland, has been working in international sports, primarily basketball, for more than 10 years After earning degrees in law and French from Edinburgh University, she joined the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) in Munich in 1998 and gained considerable experience in both the competitions and media departments before moving to assist in the organization of the 2002 European Athletics Championships, also in Munich.
After rejoining FIBA Europe, Sutherland soon had a key role in the delivery of major events, notably EuroBasket 2005 (the 2005 European Championship for Men) in Serbia and Montenegro and EuroBasket Women 2005 in Turkey. As a result, she was invited to join the Spanish Basketball Federation in Madrid as operations director of EuroBasket, 2007 which later received the accolade of being FIBA's most successfully marketed event to date.
Sutherland's key responsibilities include the overseeing of all aspects of the basketball competition and to be the focal point for liaison with the International Basketball Federation and the International Wheelchair Basketball Federation. She will ensure that the competition is organized in accordance with international federation regulations, the International Olympic Committee Charter and the host city contract. Sutherland will work with other functional areas to ensure the coordinated delivery of support services such as accreditation, venue operations, medical services and volunteers.
Sutherland prepared for her role by traveling to the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, observing the basketball and wheelchair basketball events there.
"Going to Beijing was a great experience," Sutherland said. "Being part of the Olympics Games is something special."
The basketball competition runs from July 28 through Aug. 12.