Proud to be a champion

Robin Short
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Heather Moyse beams with pride, a gold medalist at the Olympic Winter Games

Proud to be a champion

VANCOUVER - With her gold medal twinkling in the Whistler dusk, the ink drying on her own chapter just etched in the P.E.I. sports history book, Heather Moyse beamed with pride Wednesday evening, a gold medallist at the Olympic Winter Games.

Proud to be a champion ... a Canadian. Proud to be an Islander.
"But you know something," she said, "I didn't need a medal to be proud that I'm from P.E.I."
The 31-year-old from Summerside shoved off the Canada 1 sled with driver Callie Humphries of Calgary and rode to the fastest time in women's bobsleigh at the Whistler Sliding Centre.
Helen Upperton and Shelley-Ann Brown won the silver medal in the Canada 2 sled, finishing in front of a U.S. duo.
"I'm just as proud to say I'm from P.E.I., even without a medal. And I hope the community is proud of me. Any success I've had through sports is a reflection of the community."
Moyse becomes the second Islander to win an Olympic gold medal. Dave 'Eli' MacEachern was Pierre Leuders's brakeman when the duo won bobsleigh gold at the 1998 Nagano Games.
So while she's not the first to win Olympic gold, she's almost certainly the first P.E.I. female with an Olympic medal, and play two sports at the international level.
This summer, she'll join the Canadian team for the IRB Women's Rugby World Cup in England.
Five years ago, when Moyse answered the phone back home in Summerside, little did she think a casual conversation about bobsleigh would lead to a pair of Olympic Games and a gold medal.
Dennis Barrett, a McGill University track coach, was recruiting for the Canadian bobsleigh team. He had been impressed with Moyse, winner of 10 Ontario universities track medals during her time at the University of Waterloo.
"Certainly, bobsleigh wasn't a dream of mine," she acknowledged. "And when you decide to do something, you don't go into it thinking of the outcome.
"But everything changes, and along the way, this became a challenge of mine."
In 2006, Moyse came tantalizingly close to a bronze medal, finishing five one-hundreths of a second with Helen Upperton driving in Torino.
That year, Moyse had actually beaten out Humphries as Upperton's brakeman. A bitter Humphries made the trip to Italy, but as an alternate.
Humphries eventually became a pilot for Canada. Along the way, there was no love lost between the two.
The frosty relationship continued when Moyse - because she was the best brakeman around - and Humphries teamed up with Canada 1.
Over time, the rift eased.
"It's part of our story," said Moyse. "It's what built our relationship It's what started everything."
A day after their first-place run, Humphries and Moyse were still basking in golden glory. The feat, Moyse said, still hadn't sunken in.
"We're still in a focus kind of mode," she said. "That's what this was all about with us: focus. Our goal was not gold. Our goal was to get the fastest start, be the best possible technical team. We know if we did those little things, ultimately the goal would be gold."
Moyse plans to returns to Summerside Monday, home for a little R&R and perhaps a few school visits.
Asked if there's a big party planned, she replies: "I have no idea."
We have a feeling there is.

Organizations: Canada 1, Whistler Sliding Centre, Canada 2 IRB Women Olympic Games McGill University University of Waterloo

Geographic location: P.E.I., Summerside, VANCOUVER Whistler Calgary U.S. England Ontario Torino Italy Canada

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Recent comments

  • What about ELI?
    June 21, 2010 - 20:38

    To Finally:
    My congrats to Heather notwithstanding, you seem to be forgetting about Eli MacEachern. He was a fine Olympian and role model, also in the field of bobsledding....

    But that said, Heather, you are the Pride of Summerside. And dang are you smokin.

  • Joe
    June 21, 2010 - 20:15

    Real proud of you Heather, I left PEI in 1952, came from Morell, and joined the Army have been retired now for over 30 years so it does my heart good to see gold on the island again.

  • Mike
    June 21, 2010 - 20:05

    To - What About Eli .......

    I think you need to read between the lines on Finally's comments.

  • d
    June 21, 2010 - 20:04

    To finally from Pei whats your problem with Eli? Is it maybe hes full of himself?

  • Finally
    June 21, 2010 - 20:02

    I didn't forget. I know who Eli is.

  • Proud Islander
    June 21, 2010 - 20:00

    Excellent job gals,my goodness you could be twins!

    No doubt you'll keep your egos in check & make us proud for years to come.

  • Finally
    June 21, 2010 - 19:53

    Prince Edward Island FINALLY has an Olympic champion that we can be proud of.

  • Barnie
    June 21, 2010 - 19:48

    Eli is a fine Olympian and roll model.Just ask him.....

    June 21, 2010 - 19:48

    Way to go Heather! I am originally from Cornwall, PEI and have been teaching in Winnipeg, Manitoba for the past 27 years i am an islander at heart. We were cheering loudly for you. Seeing both of you with cheery smiles and so much enthusiasm was a breath of fresshness during these games. Spectacular show of Oympian enthusiasm. I certainly hope that the Island celebrates your effort.

    Proud to be a Canadian