Waneek Horn-Miller's resume includes a Pan American Games gold medal. And now, the Mohawk woman, a former Canadian national team water polo player, will help others achieve some Pan Am glory.
Earlier this month Horn-Miller was selected as an assistant chef de mission for the Canadian contingent that will compete at the 2015 Pan American Games. The multi-sport Games will be staged from July 10-26 in Toronto and surrounding communities. Josee Grand'Maitre, a former Canadian team racquetball player, was also chosen as an assistant chef de mission. Curt Harnett, a former Canadian cycling star who competed in four Olympics and a pair of Pan Am Games, had previously been named the chef de mission.
Horn-Miller said she was completely caught off guard when Harnett phoned and inquired if she'd be interested in her new position.
"I was floored when I was asked," Horn-Miller told ICTMN. Horn-Miller was also a member of the Canadian women's water polo entry that captured the gold medal at the 1999 Pan Am Games in Winnipeg. "They told me the criteria they were looking for was somebody who had Pan Am experience and was good with the media."
Horn-Miller has worked in the media herself. She was a broadcaster for CBC Sports at the 2008 Summer Olympics, held in Beijing.
Though she was thrilled Harnett was offering her an assistant chef de mission position, Horn-Miller was not able to give him an immediate yes.
"Obviously I had to ask my boss and my family first," said Horn-Miller, who also represented Canada at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia. Horn-Miller lives with her husband and two children in Ottawa, and works for Manitobah Mukluks, a Winnipeg-based Aboriginal footwear company that has a satellite office in Gatineau, Quebec.
Though rather prestigious, Horn-Miller's assistant chef de mission position is a volunteer one. She'll be counted on to promote next year's Pan Am Games at various events and also communicate with various sporting bodies to ensure their athletes needs are being met so they can churn out their best performances at the Games.
Horn-Miller, who helped Canada win a bronze medal at the 2001 women's world water polo championships, anticipates she'll be making her share of trips to Toronto leading up to the Games for various Pan Am activities.
But she knows other responsibilities will sometimes take precedence. "They're fairly flexible," she said, adding a chef de mission and two assistants were chosen to divide up the duties.
Once the Pan Am Games commence next summer, however, Horn-Miller will be having some rather long days."When the Games are on, I'll be there from 5 am until 11 pm," she said.
As for Harnett, he was thrilled to add both Horn-Miller and Grand'Maitre as his assistants. "Both of these athletes have extensive experience in the Games environment, and they will be great assets to help achieve our overall goals and objectives at these Games," he said.