December has been a hectic and exciting time for Aliann Pompey, assistant coach for track & field at St. John’s University. The Red Storm opened indoor season with strong performances at two meets, and seniors Destiny Davis and Amarys Berry were respectively recognized as Big East women’s track and field athletes of the week.

On Dec. 6, Pompey, a four-time Olympian representing Guyana, was elected president of the Panam Sports Athletes’ Commission. This makes her the voice for more than 6,600 athletes in 41 member nations that compete in the Pan American Games. She has served on the athletes’ commission since 2015.

“My job is to make sure that the athletes’ voice is heard on an executive level. I’m the link between the athletes and the decision makers,” said Pompey. This also gives Pompey a seat on the International Olympic Committee athletes’ commission and the Association of National Olympic Committees athletes’ commission.

“I’ve always wanted to have an impact and give back to sports,” said Pompey. “Once I got into coaching and running the meet [Pompey runs an annual track & field meet in Georgetown, Guyana], a few things became more apparent to me. It led me here because I wanted to do something meaningful on the long-term.”

The commission is currently trying to implement new ways to engage athletes from smaller countries and make sure they are involved and have a platform for their voices to be heard. Important input comes from these under-resourced countries, said Pompey.

“One of the things we’ve done the last few years has been to hold an athletes’ forum, which brings at least two athletes from every member country together,” she said. “We put together an agenda aimed at figuring out what everybody’s needs were and how they felt those needs could best be met looking at our overall resources and what we can add to their situations or make things better for them.”

Part of the strategic plan involves each nation having an athletes’ commission. That enables them to voice their needs to their national Olympic committees and hopefully see results.

In mid-December, Pompey attended the inaugural Panam Sports Awards in Florida. Athletes came from all 41 countries. “It was beautifully done and there’s so much opportunity for it to grow that I do believe it’s going to be a big thing,” she said. “There aren’t a lot of opportunities to get together and celebrate the games like this, so it went over really well.”