Colleen Miller enjoyed an astonishing 10 year amateur rowing career in the lightweight category. Success first came on the national scene at the Royal Canadian Henley Regatta in 1990. She won gold in the Lightweight Single Sculls and silver in the Lightweight Straight Four. That championship saw another gold medal in the Women’s Open Coxed Four. Miller added another gold medal at the 1993 Royal Canadian Henley in Lightweight Double Sculls, the event destined to become her forte.
She also burst onto the international scene in 1990 capturing gold in the Lightweight Straight Four. But it was in Double Sculls that Colleen Miller would truly excel. She and her partner Wendy Wiebe would capture an unprecedented 3 World Championships in the event.
In 1992 Miller won a silver at the Worlds with partner Michelle Darvill. The pair attempted to qualify for the 1992 Olympics in open double sculls (the lightweight category was not part of the 1992 Games) but were a late cut.
At the following year’s training camp, Miller was paired with Wiebe. It was a partnership that was to produce some of the finest rowing in Canadian history. Their first world championship in 1993 was defended with consecutive titles in 1994 and 1995. The 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta were to feature Lightweight Rowing in its debut as a medal sport. Miller and Wiebe were denied Olympic success when the latter suffered from the flu during competition. Bravely they battled through the illness to finish 7th and Colleen Miller retired from competitive rowing.
The memory of her first day at the Winnipeg Rowing Club remained a fond one. “Being on the river, watching the leaves change,” recalled the Matlock native. “That was fun. Then I was hooked after that.” The rest, as they say, was history, a history Manitobans can be proud of.
b. December 12, 1967