HomeIslander has her own priorities

Islander has her own priorities

Sep 6 2006


EDMONTON – Summerside native Heather Moyse has packed a lifetime of spectacular accomplishments into her 28 years. She’s among the world’s best brakewomen in bobsledding, is a speedy game-breaker for the national rugby team, provincial track star in PEI and her name already resides in a university sport hall of fame in Ontario.

Yet, none of those is her biggest accomplishment: They rank behind the time she spent in Trinidad and Tobago, realizing her goal of developing sport for the disabled.

Consider her priorities firmly intact.

“Something like that changes your life, your outlook on things,” said Moyse, who spent more than two years teaching and implementing sports programs in the county.

“You see things in a whole different perspective, different light. And maybe that’s what gives you the extra oomph, because you know people are working harder for other things.”

As the latest challenge in a hectic year representing her country, Canada needed a big game from Moyse to post a victory over Spain Monday in the second game of the Women’s Rugby World Cup.

Canada went on to hammer Spain 79-0 with Moyse scoring two tries. Canada led 29-0 at the half to even its record to 1-1, while Spain fell to 0-2.

The pressure to perform is nothing new for her after being named a medal favorite at the Turin Olympics despite just five months of experience in a bobsleigh. Moyse and pilot Helen Upperton blasted the track push-start record on all four runs, only to finish five one-hundredths of a second off the podium.

“Although we’re proud of it, it’s hard to feel like you might be disappointing others,” said Moyse, who will take a year off the sport before giving it a full effort in advance of the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.

“There’s so much potential for the future and so much can happen in the next four years.”
Looking back, the thought there could be two Olympic metals hanging around her neck doesn’t faze her. She was heavily recruited for the bobsleigh team in the summer of 2001 as the women’s version was set to make its debut at the Olympics.

Her recruiters didn’t understand that the easier they made it sound, the less she was interested. She decided to follow her dreams to the challenges awaiting in Trinidad and Tobago instead.

She wouldn’t trade the experience for anything, especially since more opportunities to play for her country have popped up since her return in 2004. Rugby Canada brought her into the national team fold and the bobsleigh recruiters wouldn’t quit on testing her as a brakewoman.

“It was good and refreshing coming back and knowing you’re playing something because you really want to be playing,” Moyse said. “Playing because you realize you miss it.”

She has slightly delayed her masters work in occupational therapy at the University of Toronto while competing at the World Cup, and will return to school after the tournament. However, she’s already used up all her university sports eligibility in track, soccer and rugby while at the University of Waterloo, where she was inducted into the school’s hall of fame in 2002.

Canadian coach Neil Langevin is ecstatic to have her athleticism in his lineup.

“Her skill-set is quite a bit different than quite a few others,” said Langevin. “With her incredible speed, she’s developed some skills and attributes that are a little bit more unorthodox than most. But the speed is tight, if you’re really not ready for it, she’ll scorch players.”

Canada lost its first game of the tournament, 66-7 to New Zealand Thursday. Canada pays Kazakhstan on Friday.

(Edmonton Journal; includes information from The Canadian Press and The Guardian)

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