© Nigel Armstrong - The Guardian
Heather Moyse prepares to hug a relative welcoming her return home at the Charlottetown airport Monday. Hours earlier she had been named to the Canadian Olympic bobsled team after a gold-medal win in World Cup racing Saturday in Lake Placid, N.Y.
Summerside native named to Canadian bobsleigh team Monday
Heather Moyse is excited to be named to her third Olympic team, but is keeping grounded knowing there is a lot of work ahead of her.
The Summerside native arrived at the Charlottetown Airport near 5 p.m., hours after being named to the Canadian bobsleigh team during a news conference in Montreal.
“So much can happen in sports and I know probably better than anybody how quickly injuries can happen,” Moyse told The Guardian. “I love the fact that I’ve been named to the Olympic team, but I just want to continue taking nothing for granted and keep working.”
Moyse, 35, finished fourth at the 2006 Olympics in Italy as brakeman for pilot Helen Upperton, five months after joining the sport. She won gold with Kaillie Humphries in Vancouver in 2010.
Moyse missed the past 2 1/2 seasons due to injuries. She had hip surgery about a year ago due to a torn labrum and bone spurs on the head of the femur and hip socket in her right leg. She set a goal of making the national rugby sevens team for the World Cup in Moscow in June and getting back to the Olympics to defend her gold medal. She made the rugby team and has picked up where her and Humphries left off in the bobsleigh. They have won two of the three races they have competed in this season and finished second in the other.
“Being named to the (Olympic) team doesn’t mean taking a breath of fresh air and kind of settling down,” Moyse said. “It means I still have four more races to get ready.”
She leaves for Europe on Dec. 28 with the next race on Jan. 4.
Garth Turtle coached Moyse in rugby, basketball and track at Three Oaks Senior High. He remembers noticing the “phenomenal runner” during track and field meets before Moyse entered high school.
“She was as good a natural athlete as Three Oaks has ever graduated,” he said.
Great attitude, work ethic, strength and quickness were among the many attributes, he pointed to.
“I have yet to see an athlete that could go to full speed so quickly,” he said.
“Two or three steps and she was at full speed, and that is why I think bobsled is so good for her, because she doesn’t have very many steps before she has to be going full speed.”
He remembers watching her claiming gold in Vancouver and said he knew they were going to win after seeing how calm they were between the two races.
“I am very blessed to have my family and my support system that help to take that pressure off,” Moyse said.
Summerside Mayor Basil Stewart was “absolutely delighted” with the news.
“She has been a great athlete for many years, but besides being a great athlete, she’s a great ambassador for our city and our province, and our country,” he said. “She will do well there and we’re certainly looking forward to watching as she goes for her second gold medal.”
Who – A multi-sport athlete who was named Monday as a member of Canada’s 2014 Olympic bobsleigh team for the Games in Sochi. She also has competed internationally in rugby and cycling.
Hometown – Summerside.
Age – 35.
Quote – “I feel privileged every time I am granted the opportunity to represent my island and my country. Anytime you get to represent where you’re from it’s a huge honour.”
Did you know? The Games start in 51 days. They run from Feb. 7 to 23.
Education – Masters degree in occupational therapy from the University of Toronto in 2007 and a bachelor of science (honours) in kinesiology from the University of Waterloo in 2000.
The following is a list of the most prominent Island Olympians provided by the P.E.I. Sports Hall of Fame.
Bill Halpenny (pole vault) – 1904** and 1912
Phil MacDonald (400m hurdles) – 1924
Dr. Sandy MacDonald (sailing) – 1960 and 1964
Billy MacMillan (hockey) – 1968 (bronze medal winner)
Anna Pendergast (basketball) – 1984
Kathryn MacDougall (field hockey) – 1988
Dave (Eli) MacEachern (bobsleigh) - 1992, 1994 and 1998 (gold medal winner)
Kara Grant (modern pentathlon) - 2004 & 2008
Heather Moyse (bobsleigh) – 2006 and 2010 (gold medal winner)
Brad Richards (hockey) - 2006
Jared Connaughton (200m and 4x100m relay) – 2008 and 2012
** There are conflicting reports over whether Halpenny actually competed in 1904. It is believed he actually competed in a handicap meet (rather than the full event) as his pole failed to arrive in time for the competition and he had to borrow one that was several inches shorter. Either way his appearance in 1912 is undisputed and he carries the honour of being PEI’s first ever Olympian.