Hundreds gather to welcome two-time Olympic gold medallist home
SUMMERSIDE – Heather Moyse entered the Eastlink Arena in Summerside Friday to a hero’s welcome.
The two-time Olympic gold medallist left with a street named in her honour in Summerside and will receive the Order of Prince Edward Island later this year.
“Heather Moyse, Summerside, Prince Edward Island,” Lt.-Gov. Frank Lewis said, pausing for a rounding cheer, “the best in the world and perfectly golden to us forever.”
He presented Moyse with the P.E.I. flag, which flew at Government House during the Olympics.
“You are now in legendary status,” Premier Robert Ghiz said. “You’re a hero all across our great nation.”
Moyse at times during the 30-minute ceremony took moments for a deep breath as the accolades were being bestowed on her.
“Surreal and overwhelming are probably two best words to describe how I am feeling and what I am going through right now,” Moyse said moments before the ceremony began.
Kids waved Canadian flags, held up copies of newspapers with Moyse’s photo and cheered as the hometown gal was piped to the stage. Some of the estimated crowd of about 1,500 found a seat in the arena while others stood on the concourse to be part of the welcome home celebrations.
Egmont MP Gail Shea called the gold medal victory an exceptional accomplishment.
“What a feat to be first,” she said, “and you’ve done it not only once, but twice.”
The fact wasn’t lost on nine-year-old Ava Grace Boyle.
“That’s almost impossible and it’s unbelievable that she actually did that,” the Kinkora youngster told The Guardian after having her picture taken with the bobsledder.
“It was very exciting because I really, really like Heather Moyse,” she said. “It was the best thing ever.”
Moyse said it was important for her to come home and celebrate in Summerside.
“The city backs its people and I am extremely fortunate to be from this city,” she said. “This medal is just as much theirs as it is mine.”
Moyse, who teamed with pilot Kaillie Humphries to repeat as Olympic champions, said she wants to share the medal with all Canadians.
“I believe that the race was for us, the moment was for us — nobody can take that moment away — but we won these medals for Canada,” she said.
Summerside Mayor Basil Stewart announced the city would name one of its street Heather Moyse Drive and sponsor a $1,000 annual scholarship in the Olympian’s name at Three Oaks Senior High. Stewart later said the street had been determined, but would not be announced right away.