Summerside native sees faster times in her first punches in over two years
Two-and-a-half years away from bobsleigh hasn’t hurt Heather Moyse.
The Olympic gold medallist returned to the sport with her first pushes of the season late last week in Calgary.
“Once we got out at the bottom we let out a little woo-hoo,” Moyse told The Guardian. “It feels really good to be back.”
The Summerside native just didn’t coast back into the sport either.
“I broke my PB and literally it’s a full tenth faster than my fastest push ever in a previous year,” she said.
Moyse, 35, is ranked as the country’s top brakesman heading into the World Cup circuit.
Injuries have kept her away from the sport in recent years. A shattered ankle suffered while playing at a rugby tournament in England in 2010 and a hip operation in November were the recent setbacks.
The hip surgery was required after doctors diagnosed her with a torn labrum and bone spurs on the head of the femur and hip socket in her right leg.
She has used the injuries as motivation.
Moyse’s long-term goal is to represent Canada for a third time at the Olympics — this time in Sochi, Russia, in 2014.
“For me, I had to prove that I could recover from hip surgery,” she said. “It is a sport that comes down to a one-hundredth of a second and you never know how you’re going to come out a major invasive surgery like that, so I was nervous.”
While knowing there were doubters out there, Moyse said she has always enjoyed proving something unlikely is doable.
Right now I feel really good about things especially since I still consider myself still improving. I hope to get faster. Heather Moyse
She is unable to pinpoint why her times have been faster this fall.
Moyse said prior to last year’s surgery, her hips were rotated so the sockets didn’t open facing forward.
She had worn away the cartilage in the front, but during surgery a bit of the hip socket was shaved to reduce the jamming effect and it may have provided more muscle activation.
Taking two years off and doing more sports like rugby and cycling is another possibility, while the injuries required her to go back to basics.
“I don’t have one answer, but it could be a combination of those three things,” Moyse said.
She said traditionally as the bobsleigh season goes on, times improve.
“Right now I feel really good about things especially since I still consider myself still improving,” she said. “I hope to get faster.”
Moyse has practised with pilot Kaillie Humphries, who she teamed with at the 2010 Olympics, this past week. Whether that pair stays together has not been determined.
The team is travelling to Whistler, B.C., on Monday for a week of practice than to Park City in Salt Lake City, Utah, for another week of pre-season training.
The first World Cup event will take place at the end of November in Calgary.