One of Canada’s most successful multi-sport athletes, double-Olympic gold medalist Heather Moyse, a 1997 Canada Games alumnus in athletics, has represented Canada internationally in bobsleigh, rugby and track cycling.
Five years ago in Sochi, the Summerside, PEI, native, won her second straight Olympic bobsled gold medal with pilot Kaillie Humphries. It was a second consecutive gold for the dynamic duo, which stood atop the podium in Whistler, B.C. at the 2010 Winter Olympics.
Moyse was equally at home on the rugby pitch. She was the leading scorer at the 2006 Women’s World Cup, and four years later, she tied for most tries scored in the tournament before breaking her right ankle in Canada’s final game. As part of her rehabilitation, Moyse started cycling and ended up earning a place on the Canadian team for the Pan American Track Cycling Championships in March 2012. Later that year, she had surgery for a torn labrum in her right hip.
Despite not having played rugby since the 2010 World Cup, she was named to the Canadian team for the 2013 Rugby World Cup Sevens and won a silver medal. In 2016, Moyse was inducted into the World Rugby Hall of Fame – the only Canadian female ever to receive the honour.
Moyse, who recently authored the book, Redefining ‘Realistic,’ shared her memories from the Canada Games (she represented PEI in the women’s 100 metres and 200 metres on the track) that took place 22 years ago in Brandon, Man.
The first thing that comes to mind from my Canada Games experience is all of the people whom I met from across the country. To this day, I randomly get messages from people whom I met at the Games. Back then, I wasn’t dreaming of going to the Olympics – but it was phenomenal for a young athlete to be part of such a great multi-sport event. Although I loved the challenge of the competition, it was also really fun.
For the athletes competing at these Games, it will give you the experience of meeting fellow athletes who are also striving for excellence. Above that, for some, it might be the pinnacle of their athletic success. For others, it will merely be a stepping stone, seeing what’s needed to succeed at a multi-sport event, tucking it away and using that when they go on to the Olympics, Commonwealth Games or Pan-Am Games – to take what you learned and using it to bring yourself to another level. I think the Games are brilliant in that way. It was pure enjoyment for me, just to have fun, but in hindsight, I’m glad that I had the experience. I learned that I could compete and be in the mix.
Although it didn’t have anything to do with my days in track and field, my high school coach, Garth Turtle, who was, among many other things at the school, my rugby coach, had a big influence on me. We had very different personalities. I think I frustrated him a lot because he saw potential in me, but believed I took my abilities for granted. I remember one day he called me into his office and said to me, “You have so much potential”.
I took that as a compliment and started heading to the door. He stopped me and said, “Potential is just talent you don’t have yet”. As soon as I found a goal that I really wanted to strive for, to test my abilities, that sentence from way back when became crystal clear for me. I would share those words with the athletes competing in the Canada Games.
And whether you win a medal or not, the experience you will have is one you won’t ever forget. Enjoy the opportunity to meet new people, to represent your province, and whatever the event may be, don’t sell yourself short and give it your very best.