Sydney seeing naked trends
SYDNEY - The nude picture is stunning.
The bronze, glistening body of Canadian waterpolo
player Waneek Horn-Miller against the backdrop of a
Canadian flag, wearing nothing but an eagle feather, a
tattoo and a look that conveys pride and
It jumps out from the cover of a national
newsmagazine, yet another buff picture of Olympian
"It seems to be kind of a trend this Olympics," said
the 24-year-old native of Kahnawake, Que., following
up nude calendars of the Canadian women's
cross-country ski team, a nude calendar of Australian
Olympians and a tasteful shot of Canadian world slalom
kayak champ David Ford which also appears in the
current issue of Time magazine.
"Some of the coaches were saying if this was Montreal
in 1976, it would be a scandal. But in this day and
age, people are viewing the body as a strong, powerful
and beautiful thing.
"There are two people nude in that magazine. Maybe by
Athens (in 2004), everybody is going to be nude."
This is not the first time Waneek-Miller has captured
national attention, though the circumstances of her
first exposure on the national stage, while just as
stunning, were very different.
Ten years ago, she was photographed in the moments
after she was stabbed in the chest by the bayonet of a
Canadian soldier in the wild confusion that was the
end of the Oka Crisis, the land-rights battle at the
Horn-Miller, a Mohawk, was bloodied and sobbing,
frozen in one of the images which captured the pain of
the confrontation between the warriors and Canadian
Her nude photo on the cover of Time reveals much, but
not the scar on her chest (a waterpolo ball is
strategically placed) or the way in which her brush
with death changed the way her eyes look at the world.
"The bayonet hit me right on my sternum," she
remembered Monday at a press conference with her
teammates in the Olympic Village. "A centimetre either
way and I would have died.
"But I've always believed that with every experience,
you have to take the positive out of it. You can use
the negative ones to make you stronger. I got a great
education in political science (at Ottawa's Carleton
University) to understand why that happened. It showed
me my life is important and I need to do something
with it. It fine-tuned me."
Horn-Miller said she hopes the photo will send all the
right messages to young athletes and to other native
Canadians. The eagle feather she wears was a gift from
her boyfriend, "a sign of honour and respect."
"The first thing is to be asked to be on the cover,
I'm very honoured. Anytime you do that, you have to
think about it a lot. I talked to my family and
teammates and they were all very proud of me.
"The point I was trying to get across was strength,
pride and determination. I wanted to show we have a
lot of strength as a team. I'm very comfortable with
my own body, but it is a funny feeling to see myself
on the cover of Time. I'm okay with it. My mother said
to me, 'you're not going to have that body forever. A
few years from now you'll be able to look back on it
and say, 'wow.'"
That's what the women's team wants to be saying after
these Olympics, the first in which women will compete
The Canadian team is a strong medal contender, having
beaten everybody else in the Olympic tourney at least
once in the last year.
The first question at the press conference Monday to
head coach Daniel Berthelette was why he didn't get
the cover of Time.
"I guess I'm not gorgeous enough," he said. "And my
legs were not shaved."
The next picture he'd like to be in would be with his
team, celebrating a medal victory.
"Our chances of going on the podium are very good," he
A medal would be a nice accessory for Waneek-Miller
and her teammates the next time cameras are aimed in