SPORT WORLD NEWS
By Sonja Nikcevic, AIPS Media
TORONTO, July 13, 2015 – Day two of competition at the Pan American Games in Toronto saw Canada’s women achieve a historic gold medal win at the inaugural rugby seven’s event, beating rivals USA an astounding 55-7. In eight days, history will be made again as women’s baseball will feature for the first time at the pan-continental competition. The first gold medal of Toronto 2015 for the ambitious host nation was also won by women – in the K-4 500m sprint. The recognition of women in sport is – more than ever it seems – high on the agenda at these 2015 Pan American Games. Therefore, it seemed perfectly fitting that day two of competition was also dedicated to Women in sport and leadership, at a reception organized by the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC).
The COC’s Canada House hosted the event that saw some of the most influential women in sporting history – and the men that support them – gather together to recognize one another’s achievements and discuss how the future of women’s sport can be even brighter. Among the distinguished guests were Canada’s IOC member and five-time Olympian Charmaine Crooks; Chair of the IOC’s Athlete’s Commission German Olympian Claudia Bokel; Aruba’s IOC member, President of the Pan American Sports Organization (PASO) Women and Sports Commission and former synchronized swimmer Nicole Hoevertsz; Waneek Horn-Miller, Canada’s Native Olympic athlete, former water polo player and assistant chef de mission at Toronto 2015; and lifetime IOC member, US Olympic rowing legend and dubbed by many the leader of the Women in sport movement, Anita DeFrantz, among many others.
It was Horn-Miller, a First Nation Kahnawake Mohawk who proved to be the inspiration of the event, as she described her nation’s tradition as women warriors, a concept that can undoubtedly be a universal symbol in sports and beyond.
“My people are warriors and the women are warriors and that’s something that I always brought to my team. We, as a nation, and we as women have so much to contribute to the Olympic movement and I am very proud to represent that effort and inject my culture into this movement for women worldwide. Because we are resilient, we are tough and we have a lot to offer,” said Horn-Miller, donning traditional Mohawk jewelry and a Team Canada scarf.
“The essence of the Women in Sports movement is respect,” highlighted Tricia Smith, Vice President of the COC and 1976 inaugural member of the women’s Olympic rowing team along. “It is one of the many life lessons we learn in sport, respect for yourself, which is something we all think about for these young women, respect for their teammates and others, and respect for the game and its integrity. It’s respect that makes it possible to have a ferocious battle, to be women warriors, and then be friends after,” Smith added.
PASO’s Women in Sports Commission Chair Nicole Hoeverts concluded the session on an even stronger note: “At the [PASO] Women and Sports Commission and in the entire Women in sports movement, we have celebrated, we have led the way, we are conscious of the many things we still have to do but are also conscious of the many things we have done. We have a long way to go yet, but in the hands of women, we will get there. Women are warriors, but they are also peacemakers, they build bridges. We work together, we cooperate, we make the world a better place.”