Story by Liesel Schmidt
Portrait Courtesy of Chantae McMillan
Twelve years after her first time on the Olympic track and field team, Chantae McMillan is gearing up again to make a run at gold, spending countless hours training to throw the javelin in the 2024 games.
For the millions of people who watch the games, McMillan is an inspirational representative of the USA. But for those who know her backstory, she’s an inspiring example of what a military spouse can do when they chase their own dreams. “I’ve heard from other women how inspiring this is for them as spouses to see what I’m doing, showing them that it is possible to do more as a military spouse,” she says. “That’s my goal as a military spouse. If I can motivate one woman to not give up on her dream and to be successful right alongside her husband, then I will feel my role as a military spouse has been successful.”
A military spouse since 2019, McMillan’s frame of reference coming from a military family equipped her with full knowledge of what military life would entail when her husband joined the Army. Even with the adjustments that came with becoming a military spouse, McMillan made it work with her own career goals. “It’s meant finding where to train at new duty stations and having my coach work with me remotely, sending my workouts and then scheduling time blocks to go train with my coach in person,” she says. In 2021, I made the choice to leave my husband at Fort Rucker while I went to train in Ohio with my coach for five months, gearing up for the Olympic trials. For the most part, I do not let his career affect my career. We both want our shared successes and understand we have to make sacrifices in different ways to achieve that.”
With retirement in her near future, McMillan recently became a licensed real estate agent. “While I continue to train over the next two years, this gives me another career avenue to pursue,” she says. “I’ve joined a great team and enjoy the work, which is especially fulfilling when I truly connect with clients and guide them successfully through finding what they need.”