Heather Moyse is facing the biggest challenge of her career head-on.
The dual sport athlete committed the next year and a half to train for the 2014 Olympics in bobsled and to compete for Canada at the World Cup of Rugby in June. Both are happening in Russia.
After being cleared to return to training, following an ankle injury suffered at the 2010 Rugby World Cup, she started having pain in her hip.
Doctors diagnosed her with a torn labrum and bone spurs on the head of the femur and hip socket in her right leg.
She had surgery last week and talked publicly about it Thursday for the first time.
“It is a setback. It’s huge,” she admitted in an interview with The Guardian.
But she is undeterred. She plans to train as hard as she can to get back on the course and field.
“I’d like to contribute as much as I can … to give back to my country in these two sports,” she said. “I’ve always found challenges really fun. This is just a really, really, really big one.”
The 34-year-old Summerside native had pain in the hip in the past while doing certain exercises.
“I just avoided lateral leg swings,” she said. “That was an indicator, which I didn’t realize, I probably had a torn labrum years ago.”
She is excited by the potential of being stronger and more powerful following surgery and rehab.
Committing to try to make her third Olympics and get back on the rugby field wasn’t an easy decision. She flipped back and forth on what to do and agonized over the life-altering decision.
At the end of August, she met John Tait, the new women’s rugby coach, while doing colour commentating for the North American Caribbean Rugby Association sevens championship.
“Are you ready to put your boots back on?” she recalls him asking.
Moyse also said an assistant rugby coach told her she was one of the best in the world, despite never having consistent coaching.
“Being considered one of the elite players in Canada and the world, that’s flattering … but it’s not reason enough for me to go and play,” Moyse said. “When someone said you have never really reached your potential, that’s a draw for me.”
It put the wheels in motion to get clearance to start training again for both sports.
“I thought that was a big enough challenge, but apparently throwing in a hip surgery makes it a bigger one.”
Moyse, who has battled back from injuries before, plans to do everything she can to ensure, when she retires, there are no regrets.
“I am not ending because I hurt myself,” she said. “You kind of just want to prove to yourself you can still do it.”
Since she announced via Twitter Nov. 22 she had surgery there has been a swell of support coming in for the Island Olympian.
“Its like a Twittersphere support system,” she said. “It’s comforting.”
Who: Olympic gold medallist in bobsled in Vancouver in 2010 and a world-class rugby player.
What’s up: Had hip surgery Nov. 21 to repair a tear in her labrum and shave bone spurs from femur and hip socket.
Quote: “Maybe my challenge is in the next year and a half, how much can I contribute to the success of my country in the two sports that have gotten me to where I am?”
Interesting note: Dr. Ivan Wong, who was a year ahead of Moyse at Three Oaks Senior High, performed the surgery.