Showjumper Millar happy to be father figure
By Frank Pingue
TORONTO (Reuters) - As a 65-year-old on the international sports scene, Canada's Ian Millar is all too familiar with being mistaken for an athlete's father rather than a showjumper on the verge of participating in a record 10th Olympic Games.
Millar still laughs heartily when he recounts the time he and a team mate met some people by a hotel pool in Brazil where they were staying for the 2007 Pan-American Games.
"They asked what we were doing there and we said: 'We're here for the Pan-American Games' and they said: 'Oh, your children are competing?'" Millar told Reuters in a telephone interview from his home in Perth, Ontario.
"I laughed like crazy. We never did correct them. We just said: 'Yeah, yeah' and left it at that."
While Millar chose not to reveal his identity as one of the world's most successful riders, perhaps the poolside strangers eventually caught on as the humble Canadian went on to win a silver medal in team jumping at the 2007 Pan-Am Games.
That medal only scratches the surface of a career in which Millar has captured a silver medal in Beijing at the 2008 Olympics for team jumping. Among his nine Pan-Am Games medals are three golds, including two for individual jumping.
He was made a member of the Order of Canada - an honor that recognizes "a lifetime of distinguished service in, or to, a particular community, group or field of activity" - in 1986 and was inducted into the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame in 1996.
The secret to Millar's success goes well beyond a desire to compete at the highest level. Rather, he has a genuine love for horses that started at age 10 when he took any job available just to be around them. Continued...